Photo by Dan Norman
Kevin Kling performing at the Guthrie
In a city known for holiday shows of all kinds (Read: Black Nativity, A Gone Fishin’ Christmas, and of course Guthrie’s long-running A Christmas Carol), you might not expect a one-man, one-night-only storytelling show to be the best way to get in the holiday spirit. But when Kevin Kling is that one man, and Tales From the Charred Underbelly of the Yule Log is that one-night show, it’s hard to believe that it’d be anything but.
On Monday night, made even more Christmassy following the big snowstorm last weekend, Kling took the stage at the Guthrie Theater along with a full band, singer, and pianist to share his favorite Christmas stories, the lessons he’s learned, and all of the details that now make the stories so real for everyone in the audience.
Each story was interwoven with about a dozen other stories, a million specific details, and the most endearing and familiar delivery. The stage was set for A Christmas Carol, and the holiday spirit was not lost on the audience. With the lights turned off, and a little encouragement from those on stage, the two-song sing-a-long was just another highlight in the impeccable line-up for the evening.
Although Kling’s Minnesota childhood makes his stories just that more relatable, it’s clear that his loyal following doesn’t come solely from shared roots. And even more impressive was the fact that none of the stories were memorized; they were told as you might share a memory with a loved one.
While it would be nice for audiences to get a chance to see the show again and again each season, it wouldn’t be as quaint if there were a dozen different show times. So next year, make sure you watch the calendar, clear your schedule, and get your tickets so you can launch (or continue) your new favorite tradition. And maybe share the story of it along the way.