Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Players' 'Inspecting Carol' a Comic Twist on Holiday Classic

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Players' 'Inspecting Carol' a Comic Twist on Holiday Classic

Article excerpt

Byline: Tamara McClaran

If you're searching for some comic relief this holiday season, Players by-the-Sea is offering a Dickens of a good time with its latest production, Inspecting Carol. This entertaining treat features a hilarious group of characters and situations that keep the audience laughing from start to finish.

The comedy by Daniel Sullivan and The Seattle Repertory Co. features a small theater company rehearsing its annual holiday production of A Christmas Carol.

Things are looking bleak for the struggling troupe, far beyond the leading man, who wants to deliver his Scrooge lines in Spanish, or the actor who wants to have an affair with the director. Poor ticket sales have left it on the verge of bankruptcy and its $30,000 grant funding from the National Endowment of the Arts has been frozen pending proof of artistic merit. The theater receives notice that a NEA inspector is coming to investigate and re-evaluate the grant.

As if those weren't problems enough, the actor playing Tiny Tim (Lucie Roberts) gets a better offer and leaves the production. Then mistaken identity takes center stage as Wayne Wellacre (Josh Waller), an aspiring actor of questionable talent, wants to audition for a part. He is so bad that director Zorah Block (Gretta Russe), who is paranoid about the troupe's future, mistakes Wellacre for the inspector and gives him a part in the play as well as artistic freedom with the show.

It's no surprise that everything that can go wrong does, including the real inspector (Anne Roberts) showing up to watch the troupe's chaotic dress rehearsal. Their rendition of A Christmas Carol is a comedy of errors. Could it be curtains for the theater?

Director Shawn LeNoble and technical director Philip Walls made all the madness look easy in this technically challenging show full of surprises.

They designed and built the set, which makes you feel as if you have walked backstage into the struggling theater troupe's space. The cast is so funny and does a wonderful job of delivering non-stop laughs. …

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