In Tandem’s Scrooge in Rouge
In Tandem Theatre’s Scrooge in Rouge is the perfect holiday play for those of us getting slightly irritated with “Jingle Bells.”
This musical comedy, directed by Jane Flieller, jabs the ribs of the Dickens’ traditional A Christmas Carol. Toilet humor, gay jokes, cross-dressing and swear words interweave with lame jokes your Grandpa would love. The enthusiastic crowd packed into the Tenth Street Theatre Friday night appeared to love it.
The premise: Twenty of 23 actors have come down with food poisoning before a staging of Carol. The three who remain attempt to cover 23 roles themselves, with uproarious comedic results.
British music hall inspired playwright Ricky Graham. The score by Jefferson Turner also hearkens back to the sounds of vaudeville shtick. Traditionally, a stream of small acts would entertain fickle patrons with music, potentially lewd comedy, skits, and dance. Scrooge has all these elements—in spades.
In Tandem’s Artistic Director Chris Flieller plays the actor, Charlie. Flieller brings impeccable comic timing to Charlie’s renderings of a dopey Bob Cratchit and a Marie Antoinette-inspired Ghost of Christmas Past (with a five-o-clock shadow).
Matt Daniels, making his In Tandem debut as Lottie, was absolutely hysterical. As a man dressed as a woman (occasionally dressed as a man in a reverse Victor Victoria), he shows absolute commitment to each gag. Daniels uses his entire body for comedic effect, from motorboating Marcella Kearns with his over-sized breasts to dancing a ridiculous Scottish jig. Daniels has mastered the art of slapstick.
The actors’ obvious delight in the doing was a big part of the evening. They loved the campy fun so much that you couldn’t help but to love it, too.
Scrooge in Rouge runs now until Jan. 3 at the Tenth Street Theatre at 628 N. 10th St. Ticket forms can be obtained online or by calling 414-271-1371.