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Photos by Michael Brunk |

Review by Shelli Park The holidays are here and when it is that time of year Burien Actors Theatre always produces an offering that is guaranteed to make you laugh out loud and feel full of the spirit of the season. This year is no exception. I have to make a confession here: On the evening of the preview I was not feeling well. I arrived at the theatre and was only able to stay until the end of the first act. I sat in my very comfortable chair (new seats!!) for a while assessing whether, or not, I could make it through the second act. As much as I wanted to remain to enjoy the show I couldn’t, so this review is based on the first act only. No spoiler alerts here. The Christmas Twist is an inventive melding of Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol written by Doug Armstrong, Keith Cooper & Maureen Morley of the Illegitimate Players. The play is full of quirky humor and grace; it is irreverent and charming. There are many wonderful layers, laughs, and, of course, lessons. Ken Holmes directs the production. His direction is strong. Holmes guides the action and actors with skill. As always, A lbie Clementi does an amazing job with the set. He is a wonderfully creative designer. His set evokes the time period and mood of the play. He is innovative in his use of space. One can travel far within the world of the play with a few turns of the wheeled walls. This set is a strong example his best work. Costumes (Michele Graves) are amazing. Grave captures the spirit and humor of the characters, elevating the production. For the first time in my three seasons of reviewing plays for BAT I truly enjoyed the performance of Adam Hegg. Previously, his performances have been more caricature than creating believable characters. In this production Hegg is able to ground himself and act with confidence rather than overact for effect. Hegg plays Bob Cratchit, Marley, and Young Scrooge. I was only able to experience Bob Cratchit and a little of Marley. Mark Gladding is wonderfully hilarious as Tiny Twist. Tiny Twist is a whiny, misunderstood, young chap. When Cratchit brings Tiny home to his wife, Emily (Melissa McAlerney) one can’t imagine a more awkward family. McAlerney plays a solid wife who attempts to be understanding, but is reaching her limit. Tim Takechi is a good comedic actor, and he doesn’t disappoint as Bumble, Scrooge’s nephew. Bumble’s job is on the line and he does what he can to problem solve. He visits Fagin (John Williams Lynch) who is in charge of a gang of young orphan pickpockets, including Annie (Anna Richardson). Wonderful stuff here. Richardson is an amazing Orphan Annie as one might imagine if she had never been rescued by Daddy Warbucks. Grown up, sassy and smart, she has great body language. If Scrooge (Madeleine Nutting), in all of his Scroogey-ness, can be delightful, he is in this production. Nutting has a great ability to be a hunched over, stingy crank, and still fully human. I thoroughly enjoyed her performance. Most of the actors named above played multiple roles in The Christmas Twist. I, unfortunately, missed this due to my illness. You can be sure that I will return to savor BAT’s 2015 holiday production, without having to watch with a critical eye, and to find out how it all ends. I hope that you will join me and see A CHRISTMAS TWIST at Burien Actors Theatre. It is an indispensable part of the Burien holiday season experience. Happy Holidays, Burien!! The show runs through Dec. 20, and includes incidental music played live plus free on-site parking and specialty drinks themed to the show. REMAINING SHOW DATES & TIMES:
  • Friday – Dec 4 at 8:00 p.m.
  • Saturday – Dec 5 at 8:00 p.m.
  • Sunday – Dec 6 at 2:00 p.m.
  • Holiday Concert – Wednesday – Dec 9 at 7:30 p.m. Online tickets:
  • Friday – Dec 11 at 8:00 p.m.
  • Saturday – Dec 12 at 8:00 p.m.
  • Sunday – Dec 13 at 2:00 p.m.
  • Friday – Dec 18 at 8:00 p.m.
  • Saturday – Dec 19 at 8:00 p.m.
  • Sunday – Dec 20 at 2:00 p.m.
TICKET PRICES AND PACKAGES: Tickets at the Box Office (all shows):
  • General: $20.00
  • Senior: $17.00
  • Student: $10
SAVE $5! Here’s an exclusive coupon you can print yourself (just click on the image to print): Burien Actors Theatre is located at 4501 4th Ave SW; (206) 242-5180;]]>

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2 replies on “REVIEW: BAT's 'A Christmas Twist' is full of quirky humor and grace”

  1. I think the second act is even better than the first. The ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future are wonderful!

  2. If you live near this wonderful treasure you need to go see one of their productions. Heck, I live a long way away from Burien, now, and I keep coming back year after year. If you live in Burien you really have no excuse. B.A.T. is a community gem all should enjoy.

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