Theater Reviews by Morna

Morna Martell



When I grew up in England there was always the joy at Christmas of going to see a pantomime, where the familiar story was mixed hilariously with various other fairy tales, and the leading young boy was a girl with great legs! Go figure! Now, the Laguna Playhouse, and Lythgoe Family Panto, are inviting you to take an adventure to the enchanted Land of Oz, based on the British pantomime tradition. Audience participation is part of the show that promises to be an evening full of song, dance and holiday merriment!

The classic American tale gets a holiday makeover as Dorothy, spirited away by a blizzard on Christmas Eve, finds herself in a strange land full of witches, munchkins and more! At Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. Tickets (949) 497-2787 or




In Storybook Theatre’s musical retelling of the famous fairy tale, there is children’s participation as the little girl in the red hood goes through the woods to Granny’s house. However, when this high-spirited little gal gets to meet a funny furry Wolf, and finds dear old Granny at the Pianny, the show spells fun for the whole family. Performers are Saratoga Ballantine, Deanna Gandy, Kathy Garrick, Matthew Hoffman, Cecil Jennings, Mario Rocha and Amelia Vargas. Book, music and lyrics are by Lloyd J. Schwartz. Directed and produced by Barbara Mallory.

Note! As “CATERCITA ROJA” the show will be performed in Spanish on three Saturdays at 11:00 a.m. Spanish translation is by Liane Schirmer, for actors Natalia Gonzalez, Zahaira Curiel, Samantha Barrios, Ariella Fiore, Melodee Fernandez, Graciela Valderama, Oscar Nava, Mario Rocha, Ben Hernandez and Gabriel Gonzalez. At Theatre West, 3333 West Cahuenga Blvd, LA. Reservations (323) 851-7977 or




For the past 10 years, A Noise Within’s production of this Holiday classic has become an annual tradition. Unlike most staging’s of Dickens’ famous story, Geoff Elliot’s adaptation remains scrupulously faithful to the source material. “It’s unique because it’s 100 percent Dickens,” he explains. A Christmas Carol is probably the greatest story of transformation and forgiveness that has ever been written in the English language, and all of the words in our production are right out of the novel – we haven’t added a single one.”

In addition to adapting and co-directing, Elliott takes on the role of mean, miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, whose ultimate redemption is at the heart of the story. The ensemble includes Jeremy Rabb as Marley, Bert Emmett as Bob Cratchit, and Emily Kosloski as Mrs. Cratchit. A Noise Within is at 3352 E Foothill Blvd., in Pasadena. Reservations: (626) 356-3100 or




Here’s another version of Charles Dicken’s famous Christmas story brought to life for the holidays. Ensemble Theatre Company is presenting playwright Patrick Barlow’s Olivier-nominated adaptation that played both in London’s West End and Off-Broadway, New York. Apparently, this is an all-new take on the holiday favorite as Barlow has refashioned Dickens’ holiday classic so that just five actors bring his vast array of beloved characters to life. We’re told this is a promised comic delight filled with humor and heart.

Under the direction of Jamie Torcellini, the show stars Mark Capri as funny-grumpy Scrooge. Other cast members, who play numerous roles, are Jenna Cardia, Regina Fernandez, Bo Foxworth and Louis Lotorto. You won’t want to miss this delightful holiday treat for the entire family! An ETC production at The New Vic, 33 W. Victoria Street, Santa Barbara. Tickets: At the Box Office, or (805) 965-5400, or



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