No, it’s not The Nutcracker, but it’s kind of like A Christmas Carol – just a little more absurd. Make this the year to deviate from tradition with the fun-filled, bust-your-gut musical comedy Scrooge in Rouge at In Tandem Theatre.
Known as the kings of twisted Christmas, In Tandem is also responsible for A Cudahy Caroler Christmas, which is on hiatus. This is the second year of Scrooge in Rouge written by New Orleans-based playwrights Ricky Graham and Jefferson Turner.
Following the mid-19th century English music hall vaudevillian tradition, Scrooge in Rouge is a play within a play, but it’s a slightly less than faithful rendering of the traditional story. Just three healthy actors from the Royal Musical Hall Variety Players’ are left to pull off the entire performance after the other 20 succumb to food poisoning at a cast party the night before the show.
For those unfamiliar with the original tale of A Christmas Carol, the cold and cantankerous Mr. Scrooge refuses to give his clerk, Bob Cratchit, Christmas Day off to be with his family (who can forget the beloved, crippled Tiny Tim!) Through visits from the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future, Scrooge sees the error in his ways and vows to change his existence.
So now imagine that story with only three singing actors playing every single male and female role. Founder and Artistic Director Chris Fliller explains, “It’s kind of a cross between Monty Python and the Muppets, but there are no actual puppets … well, maybe one.”
In Tandem Theatre was established in 1998 by Chris and Jane Flieller. The performance space is in the lower level of the Calvary Church, a 140-year-old building on the corner of 10th and Wisconsin. They present four contemporary productions a year and run the gamut of theatrical experiences from comedy and farce to drama and thriller. “What we really try to focus on is telling a really good story to give the audience an unforgettable experience,” Chris Flieller says.
Expect lots of costume changes, plenty of gender-bending and not-so-subtle double entendres. It’s safe to say, leave the kids at home for this one.
Scrooge in Rouge runs Dec. 3-31. To score tickets for $20-25, call 414-271-1371 or click here.