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A Queer Carol
Review by Doric Wilson
December 16, 2001

Ho Ho Humbugery

I have no idea what your holiday plans are this year but I suspect I know what you will be doing this time next year. If you are lucky enough to have a local gay theater company, you will be laughing and crying and cheering for what will no doubt become a tradition — the yearly production of Joe Godfrey’s “A Queer Carol.”

Godfrey’s crafty and beautifully crafted deviation of Dickens will certainly become a staple in this city, perhaps even nudging the Rockettes aside. He somehow manages to queer the classic without roasting the ageless dignity of the dear old chestnut. To tell you any of the details will only spoil the joy of surprise — an act of such meanness that could lead to a midnight visitation from Marilyn Monroe — trust me, a fate to be feared.

And Mark Cannistraro’s production is indeed a surprise and a joy. He fills the impossible stage of the Duplex with a perfect cast. To make any version of “A Christmas Carol” work, you must believe totally in Scrooge and Tim. Dan Pintauro as not so tiny Tim (and the younger Scrooge) will break your heart with his innocent earnestness even as John Marino, so curmudgeonly convincing as the father of Humbug, will with his final redemption mend it all back together again. (with a little help from Zabar’s)

Add to this bent Wassail bowl a chain clanking Marley (Henry David Clarke) that you would happily have haunting your bedroom, a Cratchit (J. D. Lynch) so decent you’re tempted to stop the show and pass the hat, a Fezziwig (Yaakov Sullivan) who manages to give camp a good name, and a fundraiser (Nathan Johnson) so personable you would more than welcome his solicitations.

Virginia Baeta is hysterically on target as a Dominican lesbian (don’t ask), and Cynthia Pierce is breathlessly beautiful as the above mentioned Marilyn Monroe (Ghost of Xmas Past), which brings us to a major conflict of interest and a very special talent, Mr. Michael Lynch (Ghost of Xmas Present). That long long long ago (BCE) he did a play of mine in no way influences my unending adoration of him. His entrance alone is worth the cover and the two drink minimum, from wired wig to dainty heels, he comes winking and blinking and twinkling down the aisle easily eclipsing the Rockefeller Center tree.

Michael Piatkowskis’ costumes, Jeffrey Tuballes’ set and Mark Cannistraro’s effortlessly efficient direction reminds you that great theater isn’t a question of uptown location or endless resources. It only takes a director, a cast, and a script, and thanks to SourceWorks Theater, it is all here. Naughty or nice, ye merry gentlemen better watch out, Marilyn and her “queer” folk will definitely be “caroling” at a theater near you next year. New York City on the other hand (and thanks to the unredeemably misanthropic AEA) only has three more performances to see it.

“A Queer Carol” played on December 19-21, 2001
at the Duplex Cabaret Theatre, 61 Christopher St., NYC



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