Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Review: A Red Carol at SF Mime Troupe

Read our review of A Red Carol

Review: A Red Carol at SF Mime Troupe

A Red Carol

Written and Directed by Michael Gene Sullivan

SF Mime Troupe

11 December 2020

Ah the simple holiday joys of benevolent capitalism! Probably the most popular of the Xmas productions, Dicken's novella A Christmas Carol has been praised by socialists for its anti-capitalist sentiments. Written after the onset of the Industrial Revolution, the story of a miserly curmudgeon who sees the errors of his ways and becomes charitable is anything but socialist. Leave it to Tony-winning SF Mime Troupe and writer/director Michael Gene Sullivan to push the piece over the edge and squarely into their radical, pro-worker philosophy.

With the great success of their radio series presentation "Tales of Resistance", Sullivan takes the cherished nostalgia of charitable gift-giving and confronts capitalism without conscience by focusing on the left's principles of worker rights, union organization and enlightened employers. Infusing Dicken's with sentiments more closely aligned with Eugene V. Debs and Joe Hill, A Red Carol is a delight for the anti-Trump culture that divides America down the middle.

The first 15 minutes or so of this brief one-hour production follows Dickens closely, introducing Scrooge the banker and poor, hardworking Bob Cratchit. The narrator mentions England's Poor Laws, the workhouses with their inhumane conditions with the poor chained to a treadmill. Former ACT actor Mike McShane is fantastic as Scrooge and capably added by the voices of SF Mime regulars including Keiko Shimosato-Carreiro (The Ghost of Christmas Past); Wilma Bonet (The Ghost of Christmas Present); Michael Gene Sullivan (Bob Crachit); Velina Brown (Mrs. Crachit); Lisa Hori-Garcia (Belle); Amos Glick (Fezziwig); featuring: Jarion Monroe (The Ghost of Marley); Andre Amarotico (Fred); Milo Carter-Daniels (Tiny Tim).

Review: A Red Carol at SF Mime Troupe
Velina Brown & Michael Gene Sullivan (SFMT) recording A RED CAROL

A radio play is all about the voices, sound effects and music and A Red Carol excels in each component. Using traditional labor songs written to the tune of Christmas carols and hymns enhances the narrative. "Dump the Bosses Off Your Back", "There Is Power in A Union" and the wonderful "The Banks Are Made of Marble" evoke the songs of Woodie Guthrie and Mimi Farina. The band includes Patrick Byers - Strings and Winds, David Rokeach - Percussion and Daniel Savio - Keyboards.

A Red Carol is a leftist's dream wish for the Holiday season and every other day of the year. It hits hard at people who "weigh everything by profit" extolling the virtues of caring employers like Fezziwig. You must snicker when Tiny Tim mentions the inadequacy of the healthcare system, and cheer when Sullivan's dialogue attacks privatization, ruling class propaganda and the idea that ignorance and want will keep the poor entrenched in the stations.

Seasonal charity is a great concept, but SF Mime Troupe can't be satisfied with any trickle-down economics, Christmas time or not. Bravo comrades!

"A Red Carol" is available to stream Friday, Dec. 11. Through Jan. 17. Free; $20 suggested donation. 415-285-1717. www.sfmt.org

Photos by Karen Samski and Zachary Sullivan.

TodayTix


From This Author - Steve Murray

Steve Murray is a writer for Cabaret Scenes magazine, contributor to ForAllEvents and now BroadwayWorld. He started writing rock reviews for his college newspaper in the 1970’s, produced a va... (read more about this author)


Review: INDECENT at SF PlayhouseReview: INDECENT at SF Playhouse
September 29, 2022

What did our critic think of INDECENT at SF Playhouse? Co-Founders Bill English and Susi Damilano were obviously emotional on the eve of their 20th Anniversary Season opener, mentioning that Paula Vogel's Tony award-winning Indecent mirrors their intention of creating theatre that challenges audiences, exposes our humanity and opens minds. In what may be Susi's finest directorial work, Indecent soars with poignant imagery, gut-wrenching emotion, and thrilling performances. As a play about the creation of a play, it's an intimate portrayal of artistic expression, freedom, repression, and courage that ultimately uplifts the spirit.

Review: DUNSINANE at Marin Theatre CompanyReview: DUNSINANE at Marin Theatre Company
September 28, 2022

What did our critic think of DUNSINANE at Marin Theatre Company? MTC's opens their 2022-23 season with a wonderfully directed all-American production of Scottish playwright David Greig's Dunsinane, a fanciful sequel to Shakespeare's Macbeth. Co-directors Jasson Minadakis (MTC Artistic Director) and Rob Lutfy (Associate Artistic Director at Cygnet Theatre) have created a visually stunning, action-packed re-creation of 12th century Scotland that is eerily prescient to our modern political landscape.

Review: The 7 Fingers Presents PASSENGERS At A.C.T. GearyReview: The 7 Fingers Presents PASSENGERS At A.C.T. Geary
September 22, 2022

What did our critic think of PASSENGERS at ACT Geary? 2022 is the year of the ascendancy of circus arts evidenced by the sensational AirOtic's run at the Great Star, Club Fugazi's current 7 Fingers creation Dear San Francisco, and now their newest effort Passengers. By the zealous audience receptions, the physical artistry and beauty of the performers in various seldom seen art forms is just what the doctor ordered.

Review: THIS MUCH I KNOW at Aurora TheatreReview: THIS MUCH I KNOW at Aurora Theatre
September 18, 2022

What did our critic think of THIS MUCH I KNOW at Aurora Theatre?

Review: TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD at Golden Gate TheatreReview: TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD at Golden Gate Theatre
September 18, 2022

What did our critic think of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD at Golden Gate Theatre?