Onstage: Over the Tavern

Every year during the holidays an impoverished but caring family with four kids, the Cratchits of 1843 London, take up residence at the Cincinnati Playhouse for 'A Christmas Carol.' Those endearing folks have been displaced by another struggling family w

Every year during the holidays an impoverished but caring family with four kids, the Cratchits of 1843 London, take up residence at the Cincinnati Playhouse for A Christmas Carol. Those endearing folks have been displaced by another struggling family with four kids, the Pazinskis of Buffalo in 1959, in Tom Dudzick’s nostalgic comedy, Over the Tavern.

The Cratchits have a physically disabled son, Tiny Tim; the Pazkinskis have Georgie, who’s mentally handicapped. For both families, there’s no place like home, but the Cratchits love one another, while the Pazinskis are considerably more fractious.

The dad with a short fuse, Chet (Kevin Cutts), runs the family-owned tavern downstairs, and it’s a challenge to make ends meet. Ellen (Celeste Ciulia), the feisty mom, tries to keep the kids in line — Georgie, who needs a lot of attention; Eddie (Eric Nelsen), eager to be an adult; Annie (Katie McClellan), whose hormones are just starting to kick in; and most of all Rudy (Spencer Davis Milford), the play’s precocious narrator, full of wry observations and a million questions about Roman Catholicism. He plagues his rigid, aging seventh-grade teacher Sister Clarissa (Darrie Lawrence) with his doubts and keeps life riotous with jokes and Ed Sullivan impressions for everyone else.

Over the Tavern continues at Cincinnati Playhouse through Feb. 19. Go here to read Rick Pender's full review.

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