The three of them are talented singers and musicians, as well. Interspersed throughout the show are refrains from several well-known Christmas carols, with Aggers occasionally accompanying the songs on guitar or banjo, and Illidge periodically playing the flute. “Deck the Halls” includes a projected montage of seasonal photos submitted in advance by Alliance audience members. “Silent Night” is presented as a singalong. (The lyrics are displayed on those monitors, albeit without the obligatory bouncing ball.)
Jeanette Illidge co-stars in the Alliance Theatre's interactive drive-in production of "A Christmas Carol: The Live Radio Play," performed from the Summerhill parking lot of Georgia State University's Center Parc Credit Union Stadium.
Courtesy of Greg Mooney
Credit: Greg Mooney
Credit: Greg Mooney
In lieu of applause, spectators are encouraged to honk their horns or flash their headlights. As a symbolic gesture of “lighting a candle” for the pitiable Tiny Tim, we’re asked to turn on the interior lights of our cars. On opening night, the lucky occupants of one vehicle were treated to donuts delivered from a neighborhood bakery. And to acknowledge the contributions of essential workers during this modern-day pandemic we’re facing, another aside featured an interview with a local nurse.
For whatever it lacks in terms of the usual production values or period atmosphere, the Alliance deserves a proverbial “A” for effort in adjusting the show to suit the extenuating circumstances. But some of the logistics are problematic nonetheless. Never mind the distraction of a nearby vehicle needing assistance to recharge its dead battery during the show; moreover, from where I happened to be positioned, my view of the cubicles on stage was largely obscured by a big SUV parked in the space ahead of me.
“A Christmas Carol: The Live Radio Play” is also available for streaming via the Alliance Theatre Anywhere digital platform, and I suspect I would have appreciated just as much (if not more) emotion and nuance from the show in that format as I did at such a distance in an idling car for 90-odd minutes. As cranky old Ebenezer might say: “Bah, humbug!”
“A Christmas Carol: The Live Radio Play”
Through Dec. 23. Nightly at 7 p.m. (excluding Dec. 14). $55-$130 per vehicle. Summerhill parking lot at Georgia State University’s Center Parc Credit Union Stadium, 18 Georgia Ave. SE, Atlanta. Also available for streaming ($20). 404-733-4650. alliancetheatre.org.
Bottom line: For better or worse, a sign of these unprecedented times.