Written by Daniel Sullivan and the Seattle Repertory Company, this 1992 farce pokes fun at Dickens Christmas classic while lampooning a small theater companys desperate efforts of to stay afloat. Zorah (Kady Douglas), the groups high-strung and self-important artistic director, is staging the umpteenth annual production of A Christmas Carol. Undermining her efforts is a rebellious actor named Larry (Larry Eisenberg), who wants to inject left-wing ideology into the script. The comedy intensifies after company members mistake a very bad wannabe actor named Wayne (Doug Haverty) for an NEA inspector, and obsequiously grant him free rein to rewrite and refashion the production to his taste. Anyone familiar with the often obstreperous climate within a small arts organization will relish numerous elements of this satire, although jokes stemming from Zorahs casting of a token African-American are outdated. Co-directed by Judith E. and Chris Winfield, this production is hampered by a preponderance of lackluster performances and less than razor-sharp timing, yet some humor still emerges. Especially funny are the reenactments of Scrooges confrontations with his ghosts, wherein a neophyte actor (Disraeli Ellison) playing all the spirits freezes up, and Scrooge (Eisenberg) must improvise his way out of the morass. Well-cast as the company provocateur, Eisenberg steals the show in this riff. Fox Carney is also solid as the down-to-earth company accountant surrounded by temperamental artists. Lonny Chapman Group Repertory Theatre, 10900 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; through January 11. (818) 700-4878 or www.lcgrt.com.
Fri., Nov. 14; Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: Nov. 14. Continues through Jan. 11, 2008