A Christmas Carol, Herschel, and a Wine Recommendation — Chicago Theater Report for 12.13.2020

Below is a lightly edited transcript from the December 13th, 2020 episode of Playtime with Bill Turck and Kerri Kendall on WCGO Radio, 1590AM, 95.9 FM, and streaming. New shows every Sunday 1-3pm Central time.  Audio archive at Soundcloud.

Herschel and the Hanukkah Goblins 

First, I’d like to remind everyone that Strawdog Theatre’s annual children’s holiday production, Herschel and the Hanukkah Goblins, is streaming live through December 20th. Showtimes are 1 and 4pm Central on Saturday and Sunday and tickets are $25 or $30 per household: $30 ticket holders have access to additional interactive activities. I’ve had a chance to see the current show and found it to be some good family fun. Visit Strawdog.org for more information and to purchase your tickets.

A Christmas Carol

Back in October, Theatre in the Dark produced A War of the Worlds, a streaming audio play. At the time, I highly recommended this well-crafted production. In fact, I couldn’t see how Theatre in the Dark could top it. 

Well, they did: A Christmas Carol is now streaming through Christmas Eve, December 24th. Strikingly faithful to Dickens’ novella, I and my guests sat entranced through all 75 minutes of the show. The performances were astonishing as was the technical production: A Christmas Carol is performed live from locations in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Vancouver, which must be a challenge to coordinate. 

This year is one in which that which is familiar is both comforting and welcome. I know this tale well, of course, as did my guests, and it was a pleasure to hear it so beautifully performed. Yet, I also found myself discomfited as I heard Scrooge speak, as much of what he had to say sounded “familiar,” not because I have read and re-read Dickens’ tale and have seen countless dramatizations of the story over the years, but because Scrooge’s words of prisons and workhouses and surplus population echoed what I frequently hear from politicians and social media commentators, particularly in this year of pandemic. Theater in the Dark’s adaptation is familiar, to be sure, but as Dickens’ characters echoed the familiar words of my contemporaries, I found myself not comforted, but horrified. 

I give Theater in the Dark’s A Christmas Carol my highest recommendation. I’d also suggest that tickets to this production would make a great holiday gift. Tickets are pay-what-you-can starting at $12.50, recommended prices are between $20-$30. Visit TheatreInTheDark.com for more information and to purchase your tickets.

COULY-DUTHEIL – CHINON ROSE DOMAINE RENE COULY 2019

My friends and I enjoyed a light meal and some wine before settling in to listen to A Christmas Carol. Unlike some of my fellow winebibbers, I maintain that there is no such thing as “rose season” and that pink wine should be enjoyed year-round. Our wine for the evening was Couly-Dutheil – Chinon Rosé Domaine René Couly 2019. This is a beautiful, salmon-colored dry rose that charmed my guests with its beauty and berry flavor, which proved a perfect match with our meal of hummus and pita bread. The label and bottle are also gorgeous, making this a great wine to give as a gift. The wine is less than $20 and I bought mine at Augusta Food & Wine in Lincoln Square, 2312 W. Leland Avenue, steps away from the Western Brown Line station. You can visit them online at AugustaFoodandWine.com or call at  (773) 784-2314.