Opening night of Boozy Bard’s A Christmas Carol: Raw packed the basement of the Brumder Mansion with more people than I’d ever seen in the small space before. The evening after Black Friday found a festive crowd packing the place. Things settled-in. As always, the show began with cast members drawing their roles out of a hat. Since this was a holiday show, the chapeau in question was a Santa hat.
Opening night of the show was great. Nick Firer drew the honor of playing Scrooge. His sharp comic and dramatic instincts rested quite well in the center of the stage. Naturally the tallest man in the cast was given the task of playing Tiny Tim. Men played women. Women played men. A simple, familiar script began its strange, circuitous course through time.
The show features light costuming and a few props. It’s a pretty diversely-sized cast, so all costuming has to be big. enough to fit everyone. It’s kind of remarkable what they’ve been able to come up with given the range of physical frames they’re working with, from a sprite-like Andrea Roedel-Schroeder (who played a charmingly spooky wee-ghost of Jacob Marley) to a towering Keith Gaustad (who played the largest Tiny Tim I have ever seen onstage.) The fact that costuming and props fit together as well as they do is also a testament to just how mind-numbingly universal the overall story is. Honestly it’s probably one of thew single most universally-known stories in the modern world. It’s always nice to see a group of talented comic actors having fun with a story that is so completely familiar to everyone.
Jeremy Eineichner’s script is a light stroll through Dickens’ classic that remains true to the spirit of the story. Bits of comedy and silly asides drape whimsically over the heart of a story which remains remarkably vivid even in and amidst the merriment of a packed house of generously drinking theater goers. Things get a little lost in places, but part of the fun is watching them stumble back on track once things have gone astray.
Things got bent Black Friday evening. David Kaye played a smiling...strangely amorous...Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come. In the future, Scrooge was terrified of a shrink-wrapped styrofoam tombstone featuring a skull that had light-up LED eyes. Somewhere in the course of things, a towering Tiny Tim grabbed hold of an inflatable turkey over dinner which seemed to make some sort of sense at the time. It all seemed to inexplicably fit together.
The show is free throughout its run. Donations are being accepted for the Sojourner Family Peace Center.
It’s a genuinely enjoyable evening benefitting a very worthy cause. They’re taking donations of all sizes for the Family Peace Center. It’s a free show. It’s a distinctly different cast every evening. There’s alcohol. It’s fun.
Given the current state of things, there’s really no reason not to get a little weird with Dickens this month.
Boozy Bard’s A Christmas Carol Raw is on tour, popping-up at a new place every Friday now through Dec. 21.
November 30th, the show appears at the Astor Hotel on 924 E Juneau Ave.
December 7th, the show makes it to Westallion Brewing Company in 1825 S. 72nd St. in West Allis.
For a full list of dates and shows, visit Boozy Bard online.