BWW Review: TWIST YOUR DICKENS Rings in Another Christmas Season with a Laugh, at Portland Center Stage
It's that time of year again -- when the Cratchit family makes plans to murder Scrooge while he's on a journey back to the '80s with the Ghost of Christmas Past. Yep -- TWIST YOUR DICKENS is back at Portland Center Stage, irreverently skewering all that we hold dear about the holiday season. This mashup of "twisted" versions of all of our Christmas favorites -- from A Christmas Carol to A Charlie Brown Christmas to The Nutcracker has become its own tradition. For me, it signals the official start of the Christmas season and also serves as a reminder to laugh during what can be a stressful time.
If you've seen the show before, go see it again -- all of your favorite bits are back, and the talented cast delivers. If you haven't seen it before, read on...
TWIST YOUR DICKENS is a part-scripted, part-improv show created by famed Chicago comedy troupe The Second City. It tells the story of Dickens' A Christmas Carol in a way you've never seen it told before, interspersed with a variety of other sketches. Over the 5 or so years that PCS has put it on, more local actors have been featured. This year, Isaac Lamb took over as Scrooge, filling the cast almost entirely with familiar Portland faces (including Lauren Modica, who just finished up her second season with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival).
TWIST YOUR DICKENS is a lot of fun. What's most fun is to see the actors doing something we don't often get to see them doing -- improv. Several of the sketches are based on misdeeds submitted by members of the audience as well as audience suggestions. On opening night, the cast (particularly Darius Pierce) was on fire with running gags.
There are a lot of holiday shows to choose from -- most of which are good, wholesome family fun designed to make you feel all warm and fuzzy. TWIST YOUR DICKENS is not. It's the product of dirty minds with a keen sense of satire. As one audience member put it, it will make you "laugh until [your] face [hurts]." So, leave the kids at home, grab some friends, and check it out.
TWIST YOUR DICKENS runs through December 23. More details and info here.
Photo credit: Patrick Weishampel/blankeye.tv