B.J. Cleveland in <em>A Christmas Carol: The Radio Show</em>&nbsp;at Theatre Three

Review: A Christmas Carol: The Radio Show | Theatre Three

Radio Star

Hilarious, histrionic and moving, A Christmas Carol: The Radio Show mixes '40s nostalgia and timeless storytelling in Theatre Three’s cozy basement space.

published Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Photo: Linda Harrison
B.J. Cleveland in A Christmas Carol: The Radio Show at Theatre Three


Dallas — We may not be dashing through the snow in Dallas in December, still what fun it is to watch B. J. Cleveland dash around the sound studio of David Tenney’s prop-filled set design for radio station WXMS in David Alberts’ A Christmas Carol: The Radio Show. The popular one-man show, directed with wit and graceful pacing by Gene Raye Price, is onstage at Theatre Too, the intimate basement space at Theatre Three.

Alberts retells Charles Dickens’ famous story through the revved up sound effects man Bob Bennett, an eager thespian waiting for his moment of fame in a mid-American town back when it still snowed reliably in winter, and nobody worried about global warming. Glenn Miller’s band swings into holiday music in the background, and bright-eyed, clean-shaven Bob, wearing his warm sweater vest, is checking out the mikes. When all the musicians and actors are snowed in on the night WXMS is to broadcast “A Christmas Carol”, only early bird Bob has made it to the station. No problem. Bob’s got it covered.

Cleveland’s Bob, sweetly cunning and ready to rock, delivers the whole production single-handedly, including the voices of 22 characters, plus a crazy and convincing array of sound effects, in 90 minutes of hustle, histrionics and holiday cheer. Way to ring them bells, Bob!

Cleveland has all the moves and characters down.  He starred in the show initially at One Thirty Productions, revived it last season at Theatre Too, and the third time is as charming as ever.

It’s not easy being two dozen people and all the noises they make going about their lives in London in the 19th century. Cleveland has fun with all the wonky noise machines and sound effects, which include slamming bricks to hear the clip-clop of horses, and slamming the toy door when people come and go. He cranks the hilarious torn sheet wind machine when a spirit breezes into the script, while mustering a deep and hollow voice for Marley’s warning words.

Cleveland conveys Bob’s pride and determination, as well as the love this loquacious sound man has for the story itself. Cleveland’s Bob is not just a masterful multi-tasker, but a dynamite actor with a voice range from a squealing Tiny Tim to a high-toned and haughty gentleman collecting for the fabled poor of Dickens’ story.

Fascinatingly, Cleveland’s narration of Dickens’ magnificent tale of a selfish miser’s midnight salvation is wonderfully clear and cogent if you only listen. You can see Scrooge and all the people in his world with your eyes closed, thanks to the author’s richly evocative words and the actor’s delightful delivery.

But don’t close your eyes for long. You won’t want to miss Bob’s manic antics and hilarious business. God bless us one and all, especially the guy playing us all. Thanks For Reading

View the Article Slideshow
Click or Swipe to close
Radio Star
Hilarious, histrionic and moving, A Christmas Carol: The Radio Show mixes '40s nostalgia and timeless storytelling in Theatre Three’s cozy basement space.
by Martha Heimberg

Share this article on Facebook
Tweet this article
Share this article on Google+
Share this article via email
Click or Swipe to close
views on theater, dance, classical music, opera and comedy performances
news & notes
reports from the local performing arts scene
features & interviews
who and what are moving and shaking in the performing arts scene
season announcements
keep up with the arts groups' upcoming seasons
listen to interviews with people in the local performing arts scene
media reviews
reviews and stories on performing arts-related film, TV, recordings and books
arts organizations
learn more about the local producing and presenting arts groups
performance venues
learn more about the theaters and spaces where the arts happen
keep up with fabulous ticket giveaways and other promotions
connect to local arts crowdfunding campaigns
post or view auditions and performing arts-related classes, services, jobs and more
about us
info on TheaterJones, our staff, what we do and how to contact us
Click or Swipe to close
First Name:
Last Name:
Date of Birth:
ZIP Code:
Your Email Address:
Click or Swipe to close
Join TheaterJones Around the Web

Follow Us on Twitter

Subscribe to our Youtube Channel

Click or Swipe to close
Search the TheaterJones Archives
Use any or all of the options below to search through all of reviews, interviews, features and special sections. If you are looking for a an event, use the calendar section of this website. This search will not search through the calendar.
Article Title Search:

Description Search:
TheaterJones Contributor:

TheaterJones Section:

Showing on or after:      Showing on or before:  
Click or Swipe to close
We welcome your comments

I am discussing:  

Your Name:
Your Email Adress:

please enter the text below and then click or tap SUBMIT :