John Szablewski Reviews

Theatre Review: ‘Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some) at ACTS Performing Arts Center

The cast of “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!).”

One of the things that I love about writers is when they get the idea to take a lot of dense material, and create an expedited version of it for our comic enjoyment. Shows like “All The Great Books (Abridged)” – a comedic literary journey throughout all the classic works that you didn’t read in school – and “Potted Potter” – all seven Harry Potter books hysterically performed in 70 minutes – skim the absolute surface of the material, and create a funny, not even telling the story to the fullest form, piece of theatre that is filled with many characters, and very few actors. This production of “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!)” joins this list of ‘surface scrappers’ when it comes to creating a memorable night of theatre enjoyment!

. . .a great family show, and I would encourage anyone who has the spirit of Christmas in their heart to go see it!

“Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!),” by Michael Carleton, James FitzGerald, and, John K. Alverez, and directed by Mary Best, tells the tale of Dan (Daniel Keith Barone), Scot (Scot A. Kaitanowski), and, Bob (Bob Bozek) who are currently performing Charles Dickens’ classic holiday story “A Christmas Carol.” Bob is tired of performing the same old show year after year, admitting that when he began acting he played Tiny Tim. Now he’s working his way through each of the spirits! He wants change, and Scot agrees. Much to Dan’s disappointment, the trio decides to perform, for the enjoyment of the audience, every Christmas story ever told. . .literally.

“The Grinch,” “Frosty The Snowman,” “Charlie Brown,” “It’s A Wonderful Life,” and “The Nutcracker” are part of this hilarious production, as well as the tale of Gustav The Green Nosed Rain Goat – due to a copyright law that deer-like relative with the shiny red nose was unable to make an appearance.

The talent in this show is brilliant. Daniel Keith Barone has the driest and wryest delivery, but is able to captivate the best of laughs from the audience. He plays the straight man to the others in his trio, and stands his ground when it comes to the hysterics. His portrayal of Sam The Snowman is really enjoyable.

Scot A. Kaitanowski takes the audience by the throat and brings the laughs while doing so. He is a comic force to be reckoned with when it comes to improvising, getting the audience to be involved, and when slapstick bits are
occurring. His performance as Charlie in the Box is so hilarious, you will wipe tears from your eyes. He doesn’t disappoint.

Bob Bozek takes the biggest creative risks, and has no problem being the punch line of almost every physical joke in the show. He is definitely the most committed to the obscure and brings the childhood innocence of Christmas to the show! His renditions of the characters from “It’s A Wonderful Life” are so funny that you will be fighting off stomach pains from laughing!

The only part of this production that lags is the game show segment in act one, but that is easily overlooked due to the diligence of the cast in making sure each gag and bit are performed with all the stops pulled.

“Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!)” is a great family show, and I would encourage anyone who has the spirit of Christmas in their heart to go see it!

Running Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes with a 15 Minute Intermission

“Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!)” is presented at ACTS Performing Arts Center in Alden and runs until December 17, 2017. For more information, click here.