Tiny Tim’s Christmas Carol

TinyTim

Tiny Tim’s Christmas Carol

  • playing at Adventure Theatre MTC (Glen Echo, MD)
  • dates: now through January 1, 2015
  • directed by Jerry Whiddon
  • Roar Score: 5/5

Christmas is coming. This invariably means performances of The Nutcracker and A Christmas Carol are (or soon will be) everywhere. Children’s theater is no exception. I’ll admit that we went into Adventure Theatre’s production of Tiny Tim’s Christmas Carol expecting it to be a scaled-down, “family-friendly” version of Dickens’s classic story.

Thankfully, we were wrong.

This show is funny—refreshingly, surprisingly funny. It’s not something you really expect out of A Christmas Carol, but the sharp script and fantastic acting combine to present the funniest version of the story you’re likely to see outside of Bill Murray’s Scrooged.

Ken and Jack Ludwig have adapted the story and recast it for a young audience, yes, but they’ve also taken some incredibly lovely liberties with the retelling. Tiny Tim (Chris Dinolfo) takes center stage and is the catalyst for the entire story.

Those crafty ghosts who visit Scrooge on Christmas Eve and take him to visit Christmases past, present, and future? It’s actually all an elaborate play concocted by Tim and his friends to teach Scrooge a lesson.

Scrooge is ultimately a pawn in Tiny Tim’s game—which shifts the power dynamic of the traditional story significantly. Suddenly, it’s the kid who has all the power. And don’t you think for a moment that that’s lost on the kids in the audience. It’s a refreshing take, to say the least.

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Conrad Feininger turns in a classic Scrooge performance but adds twists of playfulness that prevent him from coming off as completely frightening for younger theatergoers. Brittany Martz, Phil Reid, Megan Dominy, and Danny Pushkin also deliver fantastic characters that feel at home both in Dickens’s London and Adventure Theatre’s Glen Echo.

The set, as my daughter observed, is an I Spy picture come to life. There’s a lot to look at and discover, and it never ceases to amaze me how Adventure Theatre manages to squeeze such impressive sets into such a limited space.

Kudos to Adventure Theatre for giving us all such a wonderful early Christmas present. It’s not often that children’s theater appeals to both kids and adults, but Tiny Tim’s Christmas Carol succeeds. Take the kids. Take yourself. You won’t regret it.

This one gets full marks. 5/5

Tiny Tim’s Christmas Carol is playing at Adventure Theatre in Glen Echo Park (7300 MacArthur Blvd in Glen Echo, MD) through January 1, 2015. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling the box office at 301-634-2270.

 

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