Thursday, November 29, 2012

REVIEW: Magenta's "Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and then some)" Sure to Jingle Your Funny Bone

Magenta has opened the delightful, perennial, seasonal favorite, screwball comedy "Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and the some)." That's quite a few adjectives there. But the show requires them for description and then some.

Overall the show is funny and quite creatively written. While not everything was uproariously funny, it was generally amusing and several moments did have me laughing out loud.

It's a clean show you can take the whole family to (though, be warned, there is discussion about the reality of Santa). It won't be as "touching" as some more inspirational Christmas material, (it can even be a tad irreverent) but it will bring joy to your season.

The Stars: You Would Even Say They Glowed

The cast is huge! Okay, it's only three guys, but they play a plethora of characters from a wide variety of Christmas shows, plays, TV commercials, specials, programs, etc., etc., etc. The three actors pour on the sweat and talent as they steam through a blur of Christmas crazy.

The show stars Al Zimmerman, Tim Klein and Steve Goodwin. All have a zany talent and each has their moment to shine. Goodwin is especially good as Cratchit with a winning British accent. Klein makes a very cranky Scrooge and wonderful George Bailey (his Jimmy Stewart impression is superb) and he switches between the two seamlessly. It is Zimmerman, however, who steals the show. Four years of improv have definitely honed his skill as a real comic. He seemed to really enjoy himself. There's enough ham there for a holiday feast.

A trio of actors brings to life a wide array of Christmas
classics in Magenta's holiday offering.

It's a Wonderful Show

While certainly not EVERY Christmas story ever told, you will find he essence of or remnants from A Christmas Carol, Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, A Charlie Brown Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street, The Gift of the Magi, and It's a Wonderful Life mixed up with the Macy's parade, Christmas specials, songs, commercials and much more.

The play, by Michael Carlton, James FitzGerald and John K. Alvarez (also the original performers), was directed creatively by Amanda Goff.

Miracle on Main Street

The crew deserves a lot of praise as well for their energy. There are six of them, two for each actor, handling sets and costume changes, in a mad dash. They are on stage making the changes right before your eyes and occasionally participate in performance. They keep things moving at a brisk pace.

Steve Goodwin, Al Zimmerman and Tim Klein in "Every Christ-
mas Story Ever Told (and then some)" at Magenta Theater.
Lighting was adequate, but was at times flat, lacking side lighting (key and fill), so those seated to the sides of the stage will see shadowed faces. The sets and costumes were simple--deliberately underplayed for comedy and quick change. The sound design was marvelous. There were some small, but fitting special effects as well.

The first act was great, but the second act was probably the most amazing. I guess I liked that it was focused on and switched between only two stories. It seemed more inspired and not so hodge-podge. I don't know. The Macy's parade sequence was a hoot and I truly loved the Christmas Carol Clash (mash-up) at the end of the show.

The interactive (read audience participation) show was presented by Magenta three years ago and is back by request. The production is sure to jingle your funny bone and runs now through December 15 at the theater, 606 Main St., Vancouver. Tickets are $10-15. Complete details, show, dates and times are listed at the theater's website.

Review by Gregory E. Zschomler
Photographs provided.


  1. Bravo to all 3 actors; especially the HILARIOUS Al Zimmerman. I enjoyed the show so much that I'm taking family and friends to at least two more shows!

  2. CateZim, thanks for your comment. Any relation to Mr. Zimm? ;)