The last supper

A final serving of Carol-cooked Christmas show reviews.

CHRISTMAS IN BABYLON (The Little Theatre, 608 19th E., 329-2629. $10-$12. 8 p.m. Thurs.-Sun. Also 10 p.m. late shows Fri.-Sat. Ends Sun., Dec. 16.) The Carol: Co-creators Lindsay Hunter and John Kaufman ran all of our beloved holiday texts—Christmas songs, The Grinch, et al.—through language translation software, converting them into disparate international tongues then back into a newly botched English. Bah, humbug: The premise is clever, but the show runs too long and loose.

God bless them, every one: It's an affable show, with often funny translations (the "Oh!" that leads into the chorus of "Jingle Bells" comes back from Japanese as "Ohio State!"), and Hunter and Kaufman have a laid-back reverence for the artful, elastic possibilities of language. Can Tiny Tim come along? Nothing here is inappropriate, but the joke will be lost on the very young.

CROUCHING ELVES, HIDDEN PACKAGES (Northwest Asian American Theatre, 409 Seventh S., 365-0282. $5-$8. Opens Fri. Dec. 7. 10:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat.; 7 p.m. Sun. Ends Sun., Dec. 23.) The Carol: Pork Filled Players, the multiethnic sketch comedy troupe, has zany fun at the expense of fruitcake, multiculturalism, and . . . The Wizard of Oz? Bah, humbug: Like watching your high-school drama club play theater games. And does anyone really need to hear another joke about fruitcake? How about Kwanzaa? Anyone? God bless them, every one: A wildly out-of-place sketch about Dorothy, Toto, and venereal disease was funny . . . if you like that sort of thing. Can Tiny Tim come along? Not unless you're ready to tell him how Dorothy got that "wicked itch." (Erica C. Barnett)

FORBIDDEN XMAS 2001 (Rainier Square, Crepe de Paris Restaurant, 1333 Fifth, 623-4111. $55 three-course dinner and show, $20 show only. 8 p.m. Tues.-Thurs. and Sun.; 8:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat. Ends Sun., Dec. 30.) The Carol: From sports teams to Boeing to everyone's favorite local holiday traditions, all things Christmas and Seattle get skewered through song. Bah, humbug: Deservedly nasty pokes at Seattle's sacred cows sometimes come off as soft, harmless jabs (made duller by the dinner show's unabashedly rich French food). God bless them, every one: Writer/ director Richard Gray knows how to capture the essence of the city with a few well-turned phrases. Can Tiny Tim come along? Unless they're reading editorials and discussing city gossip on a frequent basis, most tots won't get the gimmick. (Molly Rhodes)

A(N IMPROVISED) CHRISTMAS CAROL (Market Theatre, Post Alley in Pike Place Market, 781-9273. $10. 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat. Ends Sat., Dec. 22.) The Carol: The players from Unexpected Productions re-create the Dickens out of a classic, with on-the-spot suggestions from the audience. Bah, humbug: This is improv, so it's a hit-or-miss kind of evening laughwise—it can be woefully tepid—and you're bound to get some very vocal idiot in the audience with a fascination for fecal references. God bless them, every one: The spontaneous nonsense that results from haywire audience responses to questions like "What afflicts Tiny Tim?" can be a lot of fun. Can Tiny Tim come along? Depending on the suggestions, the show may be slightly off-color, though it's completely harmless.

OWEN MEANY'S CHRISTMAS PAGEANT (North Seattle Community College, Stage One Theatre, 9600 College Way N., 325-6500. $15-$19. 7:30 p.m. Thurs.- Sun.; 2 p.m. matinees Sun. and Sat., Dec. 22. Ends Sun., Dec. 23.) The Carol: In a selection from John Irving's novel A Prayer for Owen Meany, a pint-sized, 11-year-old anti-hero takes over his hometown nativity play. Bah, humbug: Book-It Repertory Theatre's signature exposition style—i.e. "Mary lowered her head" announced by Mary as she lowers her head—can slow down an otherwise deliciously zippy production. God bless them, every one: As Owen, Stephen Hando radiates equal parts adorability and indignation, and the righteousness that comes with knowing God and the audience are on his side. Can Tiny Tim come along? Do you want to explain what it means when Jesus gets a hard-on? Consider yourself warned. (Molly Rhodes)

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