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What in the Dickens? A Christmas comedy!

Bag and Baggage imagines the frenzied writing of 'A Christmas Carol'

For those looking for a new twist on Dickens, Bag and Baggage Productions has once again come through with a refreshing take on Ebenezer Scrooge, Jacob Marley, the assorted Cratchits and the ghostly visitors who, overnight, transform a miserly loan shark into a poster child for the Christmas spirit.

In researching this year's adaptation of 'A Christmas Carol,' director Scott Palmer discovered that Charles Dickens had wicked sense of humor, a love of theater and often performed his own works, taking on the multiple roles in one-man-shows.

These biographical details inspired Palmer to imagine (and stage) a chaotic evening in which Dickens writes his famed holiday tale, interrupted by debates with imaginary actors ad-libbing lines and honing classic passages as they vie for parts in the story.

The result is a hilarious yet heartfelt romp that mixes the familiar with the unexpected and uses humor to distill Dickens' observations about the true meaning of the holiday season.

Marion Rossi is again masterful in the familiar role of Scrooge, using this production to display wider range of emotion than last year's side-splitting star performance in 'The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge.' Gregory Palmer captures the mirth and linguistic love of Dickens while the supporting cast juggles (and in a couple scenes, jiggles) a variety of roles that showcase their comedic timing, acting chops, wardrobe wizardry and musical talents.

In his director's notes, Palmer says he hopes that the mirthful side of Dickens can add a bit of joy to a season. Based on the response of the opening night audience, that's one Christmas wish that's been granted.

info

What: A Christmas Carol

Where: The Venetian Theatre, 253 E. Main Street Hillsboro

When: Through Dec. 23

Tickets: $20-$27

Ages: 10 and up

More info: 503-345-9590 or bagnbaggage.org