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On Stage

The Wutcraker

Holiday parody takes its final bow

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

In case you haven’t noticed, holiday events have taken over our corner of the world. Citizens who want to get in the Christmas spirit can do so by listening to many-voiced choirs singing “Joy to the World,” experience a festive Celtic immersion, or, among many other entertainment options, purchase tickets to see a well-known seasonal ballet.

Those who’ve been in the area for a while know that when the Bellingham Children’s Theatre (BCT) presents its production of the holiday parody known as The Wutcraker, it means they don’t need to take the season quite so seriously.

This is not to say that a viewing of the play won’t give you the warm-and-fuzzy feeling often associated with finding your seasonal mojo. The intergenerational musical, which was written and directed by BCT founder Drue Robinson, still has plenty of characters to care about—they’re just a little sillier.

“Clara and her cousins venture into the disenchanted forest accompanied by recycled toys, and there they set about the task of trying to reunite the cheese and the cracker,” Robinson says when asked for hints about the plot. “Along the way, they need Sugar and the Sugar Plum Fairies to remind them of their past. Eventually Prince and the Rat King battle it out.”

You’ll have to show up Dec. 19-22 at Bellingham High School for enumeration on how a saltine cracker and a piece of cheddar cheese will save a forest in peril, and to learn why the Sugar Plum Fairies have been dubbed the Booger Flung Scaries, and are now comprised of hairy men in tutus, but even if you’ve seen The Wutcraker before, it’s likely the updated cast and crew will provide a new spin on the tale.

Like productions that have come before it, local dignitaries and “Bellebrities” will join a bevy of kids onstage. Radio host Dave Walker, Fairhaven College professor Stan Tag, and Meridian Middle School principal Jerry Sanderson will get in the fun, and three of Bellingham’s most celebrated law enforcement officials—Deputy Police Chief Flo Simon, Sheriff Sergeant Beth Larson, and Bellingham police officer and detective Carlotta Jarratt—will end up behind bars, courtesy of the Rat King.

“I have three very smart and powerful women scheming how to get out of jail—and they are determined to get out and change the world,” Robinson says. She also gives props to the officers, who transformed themselves into actresses for the duration of the run. Larson, in fact, will be doing double duty on performance nights. Because she’s on graveyard shift, once the curtain falls, she’ll make her way back to her squad car.

If past years are indication, you’d do best to buy your tickets early, as shows sell out. Another reason to make sure you don’t miss out is that this will be the last production of The Wutcraker in Bellingham. Robinson’s not shuttering the BCT, but she says she has plenty of other holiday plays she’s written that deserve stage time, and hopes to mount those in coming years.

“It’s your last opportunity to see this in Bellingham, so come see what the buzz is about,” Robinson says. “It will forever change your way of thinking about The Nutcracker, and I don’t think people often have the opportunity to see a community-based show written and produced by a local playwright on this scale, with this much fun.” 

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