Top 5 Alternative and Weird Holiday Shows in Vancouver

Ryan Beil in the Arts Club Theatre Company’s production of The Santaland Diaries. Photo by David Cooper

With Christmas just days away, there’s no shortage of holiday shows and musicals in Vancouver, from performances of the classic Nutcracker to Christmas concerts with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and stagings of White Christmas.

But for holiday lovers seeking some alternative seasonal charms, Vancouver has plenty to offer, as well.  Here’s a look at five less-than-traditional, slightly skewed Christmas shows gracing Vancouver stages this month:

The Christmas Carol ProjectTake Dickens’ timeless holiday fable and set it to live  blues, folk and Celtic music and you get the Christmas Carol Project.  Who knew the Ghost of Christmas Past could boogie down?  The Cultch; Dec. 16-18

Hotel Bethlehem: This comedic romp looks at what happened inside the Inn after a pregnant Mary was turned away on Christmas Eve.  The innkeeper, who sends Mary and Joseph off to the stable, emerges as a central character in this farcical tale, which explores just why the inn was full and who was inside.  Firehall Arts Centre; Dec. 18-23

Santaland DiariesBased on the hilarious memoir by David Sedaris, this one-man play follows the life of an underemployed writer forced to take the job of an elf in a Macy’s Santaland display.  Vancouver comedic genius Ryan Beil (of A&W Mama Burger commercial fame) delivers a tour de force performance, bringing the agonies, ecstasies and absurdities of a month as a mall elf to life.  Arts Club Revue Stage; through Dec. 29

Bah! Humbug!Another reinterpretation of Dickens’ classic, this production sets The Christmas Carol in modern-day Vancouver.  The Scrooge character is the owner of a pawnshop in the Downtown Eastside on Hastings Street.  A customer comes in trying to sell an autographed photo of Christy Clark, and the story is set in motion.  Featuring 20 songs and plenty of sing-along opportunities, the show is a benefit for arts programs in the Downtown Eastside.  Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre, SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts; Dec. 15 only

Photo credit: LIVEfromtheNYPL | Flickr

KeithmasAs Rolling Stones fans may or may not know, ageless guitarist Keith Richards’ birthday falls right in the heart of holiday season, on Dec. 18 (He’ll be 69 this year).  The Fairview Pub is celebrating the occasion with the third annual Keithmas.  The benefit concert – with proceeds going to the Vancouver Food Bank – features nine local bands playing all Stones and Keith Richards songs.  Bring a non-perishable food item and get in for half-price.  Fairview Pub; Dec. 21.  

Going to any other weird/alternative holiday shows this December?  Let us know below. 

Want more updates on Vancouver and beyond? Follow me on Twitter @RemyScalza.  

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