Theatre Review: ‘A Very Trumpy Christmas Carol’ at Main Street Cabaret

So you’ve heard the bell ring when Clarence got his wings.  You wiped a tear during Linus’ telling of the Christmas story, felt restored when Tiny Tim says “God Bless Us, everyone,” and laughed with the Little Sisters of Hoboken. You’ve jingled, and twinkled, and decked the halls. There’s a new Christmas tradition in town at Alleyway Theatre’s Main Street Cabaret.  When all the other harbingers of Christmas yet to come have been heralded, it’s time for some political campiness with “A Very, Very Trumpy Christmas.”

This satirical send up of “A Christmas Carol” (ironically playing on the other side of the theatre) has President Ebensneezer J. Trumpy living the hell-dream of three ghostly visits while he slumbers in his flag blanky.  Visions of Hellary Clinton, Iwana Trumpy, Steve Banarama, Steve Acosted, and Mike Dence dance in his head to remind him of the true meaning of Christmas, Washington, DC style.

Redactor/director Todd Warfield took the best of the worst headlines and incorporated them into a funny, 45-minute frolic with plenty of tweety tweets and cries of fake news.  With four of the region’s finest and most versatile actors on stage, we watch the leader of the free world see/not see what the holidays mean/should mean. The bits fly fast and furious and I’m guessing that some of the funniest moments are unscripted and spontaneous based on the day’s real/fake news.

As always with a strong ensemble, it’s what the actors bring to the stage that makes the material shine. Guy Tomassi has every nuance of the “tangerine tyrant” down pat. The too long red tie, the perpetually pinched look on the peachy countenance, the rat’s nest coiffure, rapid fire speech, and the wild gestures to match are all on point. Stephanie Bax flips between Sarah Suckabe e-Sanders, Hellary Clinton, and Iwana Trumpy with deft costume and wig changes punctuated by her complete character overhauls. Her comedic chops are well exercised here. Timothy Patrick Finnegan makes the bold move from Rachel Maddog to Steve Banarama to Flimsy Graham, where his voice has the perfect drawl and with deadpan delivery. A. Peter Snodgrass’ Mike Dence is a hoot, and he’s equally smooth as CNN reporter Mike Acosted and the au current Michael Hohen. Director Warfield does some fine things with video (real and re-imagined) that give the script its context and the stark stage its setting.

Yes, laughing at the highest office in our country isn’t for everyone.  (Hey, it’s a democracy here. Freedom of expression still wins). Keeping it light and laughable still can keep the big picture in focus  And sometimes this is just what you need and expect from a night out in the theatre.

Running Time: 45 minutes with no intermission

“A Very, Very Trumpy Christmas Carol” is on stage at the Alleyway Theatre’s Main Street Cabaret to December 23, 2018. For more information, click here.