Far be it from me to play the Grinch with Charles Dickens classic Christmas tale. But its clear from the opening scenes of Mrs. Bob Cratchits Wild Christmas Binge at The Little Theatre of Alexandria that there is no binge coming, unless you count Gladys Cratchits suicide attempts by leaping into the Thames River as holiday fancy. And there is nothing wild that will ever unfold, unless your idea of that notion is 20 children locked in a cellar with a single raw fish as nourishment.
What you have here is a mess from the get-go that has no business being on a legitimate stage. Off-key singing, stilted acting, a slog-of-a-script largely untouched by actual humor. The barbs are countless and dated.
Scrooge resembles Enrons Kenneth Lay and is insensitive to handicapped children. At one point one of the Christmas ghosts says to Tiny Tim: Hes so cute and small and gimpy. Mrs. Cratchit says to Tiny Tim: Are you blind as well as crippled?
This play had it all: Tourettes Syndrome jokes, miscasting, lacking sound effects or musical transitions during dark set changes add to that awkward choreography, afterthought set design and costumes that had a better life at the Goodwill.
Dear theatregoers, it is only through my commitment to you to witness every shard of any play I review to its glorious or in this case most inglorious denouement, that stopped me from finding pleasure by exiting after the opening 10 minutes. But I stayed glued to my seat until the end with the dysfunctional Cratchits. (The children, who Mrs. Cratchit refuses to give names to, get a certain fast food chains Happy Meals for Christmas dinner while she goes off to become Leona Helmsley. Does anyone even remember her?)
The only redeeming social value from this dreary production is a death-defying rescue by actress Maria Simpkins, playing the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. Sign me up to be the first in line wherever she pops up next as long as shes not singing. Simpkins lightening fast delivery, coupled with her ace comedic timing and talent, should be featured in a solo show without the ghostly shackles of such a dismal play and cast.