With a Revel Yell 

The Christmas Revels kick back and think of England.

Year after year, the Christmas Revels have welcomed Yule at Oakland's Scottish Rite Theater with a spectacular solstice celebration of song, dance, and general merriment. Now in its 22nd year, each go-round of the Revels takes as its theme a different historical period or cultural tradition, whether it's Mesoamerican or Black Madonna Italian, Breton or Appalachian. The British Isles have been a recurring favorite, and every year even pageants set somewhere else entirely have included the Abbots Bromley Stag Horn Dance, the Sussex Mummers' Carol, and a hearty dance-along chorus of "Lord of the Dance."

Set in the 19th-century English countryside, the 2007 Revels take as their theme the "songcatcher," a kind of wandering ethnomusicologist. Rejoining the party this year is the always entertaining comic actor, ex-Pickle clown and Berkeley Rep mainstay Geoff Hoyle, who's enlivened many Revels in the past, the last time as an Elizabethan fool in 2003. Hoyle's been getting around lately; he's just finished up a stint at Teatro ZinZanni and is currently featured in all his prerecorded glory as the narrator for ODC/Dance's The Velveteen Rabbit at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. The Revels run Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., Dec. 7-16 at the Scottish Rite Theater, 1547 Lakeside Dr., Oakland. Tickets $15-$50, available at 510-452-8800 or CalRevels.org.


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