BWW Review: TWIST YOUR DICKENS is Back! And That's a Very Good Thing
There are plenty of wholesome choices for holiday entertainment. And then there's TWIST YOUR DICKENS from Chicago-based comedy troupe The Second City. If the show were a seasonal beverage, it would be less like the hot spiced cider you share with family, friends, and carolers, and more like the vodka shots you sneak in the pantry when you think no one's looking. I'm thrilled that this irreverent and hilarious adult version of this holiday favorite is back (and it's better than ever) at Portland Center Stage.
TWIST YOUR DICKENS is like A Christmas Carol, but not. It has the same basic framework, with Scrooge and the ghosts, but you've never seen the story told this way before. In addition to Dickens, the show skewers several other holiday classics - A Charlie Brown Christmas, The Island of Misfit Toys, It's a Wonderful Life, and more - and contains many original sketches and characters, including my personal favorite: Ruby Santini butchering all of your favorite Christmas carols. It also incorporates improv, making it a new show every night.
There are roughly a gazillion characters, all played by a cast of seven, which this year includes Darius Pierce (previously seen downstairs at the Armory during the holiday season as Crumpet the Elf in The Santaland Diaries). While they all have many moments to shine, my vote for best performer this year goes to Lauren Modica, who plays everyone from Mrs. Cratchit to Dorothy (as in, The Wizard of Oz), a random crazy person, a Girl Scout, a depressed doll, and Michelle Obama. She had the audience roaring in every scene. The night I went, Chantal DeGroat also hit it out of the park during the improv sketches.
If you need a laugh break (and who doesn't?), grab a date and a drink and check out TWIST YOUR DICKENS. The boisterous people behind me thought it was the funniest play they'd ever seen. Who am I to argue?
TWIST YOUR DICKENS runs through December 31. More details and tickets here.
Photo credit: Patrick Weishampel/blankeye.tv