A Twisted Christmas Carol Stands-up To ScrutinyWednesday, December 03, 2014
|The Ghost of Christmas Past haunts Granville Island|
Before I rant and rave (mostly the second) about the Arts Club Theatre production of Rock Paper Scissors “alternative to Charles Dickens” A Twisted Christmas Carol directed by John Murphy at the Granville Island Review Stage let me set the record straight that as a Latin American-born (Argentine) man I do not understand the concept of paying money to go into a club to listen to people making jokes about Surrey. I simply almost loathe the concept of stand-up comedy.
But the Arts Club Theatre Company introduced me to the humour of Ryan Beil and I had to accept the fact that I was beginning to slide towards liking this sort of humour. There is not doubt now.
A Twisted Christmas Carol, which somehow keeps to the general plot of Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, is lightly scripted and allows the audience to vary many of the twists and turns of this hilariously funny play/experience. On opening day I went with my younger daughter Hilary Stewart. Thanks to her I was clued in to elements that would have gone over my head like music from films such as Halloween and actions that mimicked Jaws and Friday the 13th. On opening night (last night Wednesday) we the audience determined that Scrooge and his dead partner Jacob Marley headed a Gymnastics Studio. On other nights it might be a plumbing company, or who knows, a uranium exploration company?
Within the Dickens plot, nicely narrated by a very English Kirk Smith playing Charles Dickens the other actors, Diana Francis, Jeff Gladstone, Gary Jones and Bill Pozzobon (very good, very funny, superb Shakespearean voice and with a surname that suggests he might have an ancestry as a Dickens character) through their stand-up comedy expertise, were able to rise up to the crazy demand of the spectators.
In a season where if I listen to Marilyn Monroe sing Santa Baby one more time (the last time yesterday at the Tea House in Stanley Park) I will go mad (and taken away in a straight jacket) before Christmas falls upon us, it is refreshing to witness a play that is not traditional in the strict meaning of that word. It’s a Wonderful Life, like the Nutcracker I can skip until I have great-grandchildren that I can expose to that sort of thing. And that is why A Twisted Christmas Carol did its thing for me which was to make me laugh and look forward to the season without tiring me out without “chestnuts ‘n stuff.”
|The cast of A Twisted Christmas Carol -Kirk Smith, Jeff Gladstone, Bill Pozzobon, Gary Jones & Diana Francis|
While looking through some of my books I found a beautiful copy of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens illustrated by Arthur Rackham. I opened it and noticed the book plate “This book belongs to Hilary Waterhouse-Hayward”. I gave this book to Hilary when she was 7 in the late 70s.
I further noticed the Preface:
I have endeavoured in this Ghostly little book to raise the Ghost of an Idea which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their house pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it.
Their faithful Friend and Servant,
December, 1843 C.D.
I would think that the book’s preface is a just review of A Twisted Christmas Carol