The American Heartland Theatre in Crown Center offers some holiday fun, guffaws, and chuckles until December 31st with Every Christmas Story Ever Told! I was surprised at the turnout on Thanksgiving Eve, assuming (incorrectly) that there would most likely be a small audience given that people would either be traveling to a family feast or at home preparing for one. There was almost a butt in every seat as patrons gathered to see Ron Megee, Ken Remmert, and Martin English pull off what the AHT Program describes as “a madcap comedy as it retells all of your favorite seasonal stories.” Other descriptions in the program notes are “zany” and “hilarity,” both of which are appropriate for this wacky entertainment created by Michael Carleton, Jim Fitzgerald, and John Alvarezm with original music by Will Knapp, for the stage at Cape May, New Jersey, in November 2003.
The comical romp presents, as the title implies, every Christmas story ever told. All are stirred like a holiday punch to create a dizzy amalgamation that makes an enjoyable shambles of them all. Perhaps this is why children 13 and under are not permitted to view the spectacle.
The three performers are frantically bent on delivering laughs, and they do so. But the trio of actors is hard pressed to keep up with the supersonic pace of the play, which caused some problems for me as a critic. It may be that the talented gents had performed this play so often that their movements have gotten a bit sloppy. They had trouble hitting their marks, which meant they stepped out of their lighting. Also (ever the nitpicker!), the trousers they wore are ill fitting and badly in need of exchange, or at least a good wash and ironing.
If pressed under threat of severe punishment to name the best of the three, I’d have to say that Ron Megee, Kansas City’s reigning comedic personality, is the standout. His characterizations are dead on and his facial expressions alone, without dialogue, drive home the humor. Long may Ron reign as Kansas City’s Court Jester. He was born to make people laugh.
Every Christmas Story Ever Told runs through December 31. To purchase tickets, call 816-842-9999, visit the box office in Crown Center, or visit the web site, www.americanheartlandtheatre.org

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