Cartoonish ‘Christmas, Carole!’ is charming

The folks at Scrooge Industries undergo a funny and charming spiritual transformation in “It’s Christmas, Carole!,” a “world premiere human cartoon” onstage at Children’s Creativity Museum in The City.

The hourlong show — a delightful, quaint, low-budget alternative to the season’s myriad “Nutcrackers” and traditional versions of Charles Dickens’ classic tale — is the creation of veteran Bay Area clown Sara Moore, director Andrew Nance, writer Michael Phillis and their merry band of comic actors.

Moore plays disillusioned Carole, an employee impervious to her co-worker Bob’s (Phillis) glee about the season, and his dismay that boss Mr. Scrooge (Dave Garrett) isn’t giving the staff the day off on Christmas.

Clad in footie pajamas, she wakes up in the morning on Christmas Eve in a bad way, grumpy at the incessant pealing of “Carol of the Bells.” Making her way to work in San Francisco, she’s assaulted by a perfume vendor spraying a seasonal scent, Christmas cookie and new toy, and endures a jostled Muni ride surrounded by overly joyful patrons.

Once at work, she finally relents and tells Bob she will work for him on Christmas.

But plans change when she’s visited in dreams by unorthodox spirits: the ghost of Christmas Workday (a terrific paper puppet with a necktie made of Post-It Notes), ghost of Christmas Breaks (Dawn Meredith Smith, who also plays a pathetic yet kindly co-worker selling magazine subscriptions), and the Ghost of Christmas Bonuses (Rory Davis), who showers her with lavish game show prize opportunities behind doors No. 1, 2 and 3.

Of course, it’s no big surprise that Carole’s Christmas will end on a more upbeat note than it started, but the journey is filled with sass tempered by sweetness.

A lack of glitz, glamour and expansive production values makes the show all the more appealing. With heart, vigor, wit and, ultimately, warmth, “It’s Christmas, Carole!” outshines many other holiday productions in capturing the true spirit of the season.

REVIEW

It’s Christmas, Carole!

Where: Children’s Creativity Museum, 221 Fourth St. (at Howard Street), S.F.

When: 7 p.m. Thursday-Friday, 2 and 5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday

Tickets: $10 to $20

Contact: http://itschristmascarole.com

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