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Week ahead: Theater, arts

Dirk Ahlgrim

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BIG PICTURE II This second annual celebration of large-scale works by Fort Point artists features a terrific roster, including light artist Floor van de Velde, painter Domingo Barreres, photographer Don Eyles, and conceptual artist Maria Molteni. (Pictured: Dirk Ahlgrim’s “JFK Library.” ) Through Jan. 9. Atlantic Wharf Gallery, 290 Congress St. 617-423-4299,



NECESSARY MONSTERS Puzzlemaster John Kuntz toys with our perceptions in this elaborate, seriocomic maze of a play. It’s a journey into the darker regions of impulse and appetite that is expertly directed by David R. Gammons and bolstered by a blue-chip ensemble that includes the protean playwright. Through Jan. 3. SpeakEasy Stage Company, at Roberts Studio Theatre, Calderwood Pavilion, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600,


LATE NITE CATECHISM: SISTER’S CHRISTMAS, THE MYSTERY OF MAGI’S GOLD An aficionado of “CSI’’-style forensic television programs, Sister decides to ascertain what happened to the Magi’s gold. Portraying Sister is Colleen Moore, who played the character last year in “Late Nite Catechism.’’ Through Dec. 31. Larcom Theatre, Beverly. 617-531-1257,

MR. PUNCH’S CHRISTMAS CAROL Plenty of actors have had their shot at playing Ebenezer Scrooge — Alastair Sim, Lionel Barrymore, George C. Scott, Patrick Stewart, plus Jim Carrey and Jim Backus in animated versions (the latter as Mr. Magoo). So why not the hand puppet known as Mr. Punch? Elements of the Punch-and-Judy style are blended with Dickens’s story in this production by Crabgrass Puppet Theatre, whose performers include its two founders, Jamie Keithline and Bonny Hall, from Vermont. Dec. 24-28. Puppet Showplace Theater, Brookline. 617-731-6400 ext. 101,


THE CHRISTMAS REVELS There hasn’t been a Victorian “Christmas Revels” since 1998, and even though this version repeats many elements of that one, it still feels fresh and new. The conceit is that Sir Arthur Sullivan and some friends are helping to stage a “Cinderella” panto at London’s Crystal Palace. The panto, with stepsisters named Twinky and Velveeta, is hilarious, and there are toe-tapping music-hall numbers and West Gallery carols plus buskers and the usual children’s games in what is a stellar production even by Revels’ high standards. Through Dec. 28. Sanders Theatre, Cambridge. 617-496-2222,




THE NUTCRACKER For many in the area, the holidays aren’t complete until they’ve seen Boston Ballet’s grandly opulent version of this beloved classic, enlivened with sparkling sets, costumes, and choreography, not to mention dependably impressive dancing, from company soloists to the huge cast of adorable kids. Through Dec. 31, $45-$220. Boston Opera House. 617-695-6955,

URBAN NUTCRACKER In Tony Williams’s popular version of the E.T.A. Hoffmann tale, ballet meets tap, jazz, hip-hop, flamenco, even a little hula-hooping. Music for this charming update alternates between the traditional Tchaikovsky score and Duke Ellington’s jazz suite. The professional cast and a variety of guest artists are complemented by a flock of enthusiastic children. Through Dec. 28, $25-$85. John Hancock Hall. 888-596-1027,

THE SLUTCRACKER An altogether irreverent holiday offering, this burlesque show by Sugar Coated Productions returns for its seventh season of ribald revelry with a spin on Clara’s fantastical adventure that trades snowflakes and sugar plums for whips and pasties. Through Dec. 31, $27. Somerville Theatre, Somerville. 617-625-4088,



RESONANCE: BOOKS IN TIME II In this show, individual voices gather into a chorus. Artists book makers Ann Forbush, Ania Gilmore, and Annie Zeybekoglu each had pieces selected to exhibit by the other two; from there, all three collaborated on new works. Through Jan. 16. Brickbottom Gallery, 1 Fitchburg St., Somerville. 617-776-3410,


VAULT OF SILVER TEARS This show of sculptures of monsters and handmade weapons, armor, and costumes could be mistaken for conceptual art, but it’s simply an exhibit by and for fans of live action role-playing games. Through Jan. 10. Distillery Gallery, 516 East 2nd St., South Boston. (No phone),



MONET | KELLY A small but intriguing show, with great loans, examining the surprising influence of Claude Monet on Ellsworth Kelly, and their shared love of Belle-Ile, an island off the coast of Brittany. Through Feb. 15. Clark Art Institute, Williamstown. 413-458-2303.

GOYA: ORDER AND DISORDER Organized by theme, this exhibition explores the full range of the great Spanish artist Francisco Goya’s prodigious output in paintings, prints, and drawings. Centered on the MFA’s deep collection of Goya works on paper, the exhibition also includes major loans from the Prado, the Uffizi, the Louvre, and the Metropolitan Museum. Through Jan. 19. Museum of Fine Arts. 617-267-9300,

CALDER AND ABSTRACTION: FROM AVANT-GARDE TO ICONIC Organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, this show features more than 40 three-dimensional works by the giant of 20th-century modernism. It includes examples of the kinetic metal works Calder called “mobiles,” and the standing sculptures he called “stabiles.” Through Jan. 4. Peabody Essex Museum, Salem. 978-745-9500.


TREASURES OF BRITISH ART 1400-2000: THE BERGER COLLECTION Organized by the Denver Art Museum, this show presents an overview of six centuries of British art, and features work by artists such as Hans Holbein the Younger, Joseph Wright of Derby, John Constable, and Howard Hodgkin. Through Jan. 4. Portland Museum of Art, Portland, Maine. 207-775-6148,


Screen scene

ART ON THE MARQUEE A fresh slate of nine artsy short videos curated by Boston Cyberarts now screens on the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center’s 80-foot-tall marquee. Artists include Fish McGill, Georgie Fried-man, and Ellen Wetmore. Through Feb. 24. Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, 415 Summer St. (No phone),


Don Aucoin can be reached at