Beasley's Christmas Party

In this charming and deeply un-cynical adaptation (by C.W. Munger) of a 1909 novel by Booth Tarkington, Mr. Beasley (Don Brady) is a kindly but kooky old politician who's running for governor yet neither gives speeches nor discusses politics. Earnest reporter Booth (Frank Lawler) moves next door to Beasley--rather like author Joe McGinniss recently stalking Sarah Palin for his book. However, Booth is quickly befuddled by Beasley's habit of talking to people who, so far as Booth can tell, do not seem to exist. (While I have no solid evidence yet, I suspect that Ron Paul is similarly inclined.) Aaron Lamb and Lisa Peretti fill out Beasley's talented cast. They, with Brady's assistance, inhabit about a dozen different characters, quickly switching hats and accents, sometimes mid-scene. Directed by Scott Nolte, Taproot's production is quick and intermission-less, running under 90 minutes, nearly all of which are filled with affirmations of holiday spirit and romance. At one point, Beasley's political opponents suggest he's nutty, but that's about as dark as it goes. If you find that A Christmas Carol isn't quite wholesome enough, then Beasley may be your best bet for a warm, fuzzy holiday alternative. BRENT ARONOWITZ [See Brent's full review.]

Wednesdays-Saturdays. Starts: Nov. 18. Continues through Dec. 30, 2011

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