By Erika Brown Thomas
Ken Ludwig, playwright of the Tony award winning play, Lend Me A Tenor, pairs himself to the well-loved and traditional Christmas poem, “’Twas the Night before Christmas.” This show is one that particularly “lends” itself to child and family audiences with cartoonesque characters and a 45 min run time. Follow this link for more information on the show click here.
Darren Hill (Uncle Brierly/Sir Guy) spearheads the show as a narrator of sorts, although not much of the traditional sit down and read-aloud exists in the show. Hill goes for slap-stick punchlines with comedic and physical know-how.
Uncle Brierly’s niece Emily, played by Kirra Silver, portrays a sweet and unassuming child character in the most genuine and beguiling way. As the only child character in the show, Silver never goes over the top with her child imitations (as many actors in children’s shows are wont to do), rather she exudes a sincerity that is to be praised. Her “in-house” mouse friend, Amos (Alejandro Tey) provides the funny sidekick role with ease.
Nora Lise Ulrey (Brittania Sneed/Calliope) and Anthony Whitaker (Wendell/Mulch/Santa Claus) complete the cast as an enjoyable variety of stereotypical characters that will have children in the audience smiling and laughing.
For the discerning and adult eye, the props for the show and set design/realization fall short of the bar set by the cast; however, many will enjoy the show much like the narrator in the poem does when he sees Santa: “I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.”
Emerald City Theatre, under the direction of Jacqueline Stone, has taken on this comedy and presents a pleasant way to spend a weekend morning with some of the little ones in your life.
As the holiday season swiftly approaches to close out the year, make sure to take advantage of all the amazing holiday shows on your doorstep in the Chicag0land theatre community!
Emerald City Theatre and Broadway in Chicago present “Ken Ludwig’s ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” through the end of December at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower, 175 E Chestnut St, Chicago. More information and tickets are available here.