Times Square Angel (Union Theatre)
Charles Busch's drag-infused take on A Christmas Carol proves a heart-warming night out
Charles Busch's Times Square Angel tells the tale of 1948 New York, a city in need a Christmas carol or two. At its centre is fiery redheaded drag queen diva Irish O'Flanagan, who is modelled on Dickens' Scrooge.
When she comes face to face with an angel, in the form of a vaudevillian magician seeking redemption named Albert (authentically portrayed by Michael Adams), O'Flanagan must choose to continue making mean life choices or make a change for her own sake.
Director Bronagh Lagan's production successfully blends the worlds of It's a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol, while the design team (lead by Philip Lindley) work the Union's intimacy to their advantage by employing striking minimalism. The simple effect of falling snow highlighted by blue lights during "Hark the Herald Angel Sing" embodies the true beauty of Christmas as well as any John Lewis ad.
And the actors give it their full heart and soul. Ian Stroughair's O'Flanagan proves confident, sassy and comical, a spinning top in a black sequined dress. Then at the flip of a switch he sings "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas'' with a entrancingly powerful voice tinged with vulnerability.
Other standouts include the naïve Little Red Riding Hood-esque Valerie of Jourdan Amelia Storey as well as Ellen Verenieks' motherly Narrator who guides the audience like innocent children through the big bad world of the Big Apple.
All told Times Square Angel successfully creates a camp and cheery mood that should spark a little Christmas spirit in us all.