Hold on to your hats and get ready for a manic ride through a host of Christmas shows as Town Hall Theatre presents "Every Christmas Story Ever Told."
Well directed by Michael Storm, the show begins on a traditional note as Dennis Markam speaks the opening lines of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol." He doesn't get far before Justin DuPuis and Liam Callister revolt against doing one more performance of the traditional show, and insist on presenting shows from around the world.
A madcap adventure ensues, with the three dynamite performers changing costumes, personas and plays in a hilarious send up of holiday fare. Marianna Ford has the task of providing a wide variety of costumes, with David Lam's colorful lighting moving the action nicely as the actors present a plethora of holiday treats across Martin Flynn's versatile set.
While Act I could use some judicious cuts, Act II is especially effective as "It's a Wonderful Life" and "A Christmas Carol" meld together. All three actors shine with Markam a treat to behold as he switches between a proper British accent and a fine Jimmy Stewart impersonation.
"Every Christmas Story Ever Told" runs through Dec. 21. For tickets, call 925-283-1557 or go to www.townhalltheatre.com.
The Futrelle sisters are up to their crazy attics again as Onstage Theatre Company presents its popular holiday show "Christmas Belles" in their its location, the Campbell Theatre, 636 Ward St., in Martinez.
The holiday farce takes place in Fayro, Texas, where Honey Futrelle desperately tries to pull together the annual holiday program with her jailbird sister Twink and very overdue pregnant sister Frankie adding one complication after another. The cast features Babette Bilger, Siobhan O'Brien and June McCue as the nutty sisters.
Five performances only, Dec. 12 through Dec. 15. To check out the group's new venue and to laugh your way through this misadventure-filled Christmas Eve story, call 925-518-3277.
The incredibly talented Kneehigh Theatre Company, based in the UK, has returned to Berkeley Rep with another exhilarating production. Its lushly sensual "Tristan and Yseult" takes the ancient story of star-crossed lovers moves it to modern times and adds gorgeous music and ingenious staging for a thrilling theatrical experience.
It all begins in the Club of the Unloved, where the lead singer Ms. Whitehands (a golden-voiced Carly Bawden) spins the tale of Tristan (Andrew Durand) sent by his father the king (Mike Shepherd) to bring back his enemy's sister Yseult (Patrycja Kujawska) to be his queen. Of course, Tristan and Yseult fall in love, further complicated by the love they both bear the king.
Under the superb direction of Emma Rice, the multitalented cast of 12 sings, dances, plays a wide variety of instruments and manages to break your heart when you least expect it. Full of humor, acrobatic feats, and even silly audience participation, the production also stays true to the emotional core of the tale.
"Tristan and Yseult" runs through Jan. 6. Call 510-647-2949 or go to www.berkeleyrep.org.
For a cabaret tribute to the songs of Andrew Lloyd Webber that also benefits the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, don't miss "The World of Webber" on Dec. 15 at 2:30 p.m. at Walnut Creek's Lesher Center.
Produced by Esses Productions, the show features singers Tielle Baker, Kelly Brandeburg and Kyle Martin with musical director/accompanist Evan Alparone. Call 925-943-SHOW or go to www.lesherartscenter.org.
To help support music programs in the Mt. Diablo School District, be sure to attend Rock Skool, a San Francisco Bay Area tribute band that plays rock from the '70s to the '90s.
The fundraiser takes place Dec. 14 at 9 p.m. at Blu42 Lounge, 1251 Arroyo Way in Walnut Creek. For more information, go to www.mdmef.org.
Contra Costa Children's Chorus celebrates 30 years of musical excellence with a concert entitled "My Spirit Rejoices" on Dec. 13 at 7 p.m. at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, 1601 Mary Dr., in Pleasant Hill.
The chorus will perform Porpora's "Magnificat" plus Canadian and Spanish carols as well as Hanukkah songs and Elgar's "The Snow."
On Dec. 28, at 7:30 p.m., Children's Chorus artistic director Martin Benvenuto and founding artistic director Iris Lamanna will lead alumni and current choristers in an Alumni Reunion Concert at Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church, 1801 Lacassie Ave., Walnut Creek. For more information, go to www.childrenschorus.org.
Contact Sally Hogarty at firstname.lastname@example.org.