Monday, December 4, 2017

Review of Q Brothers Christmas Carol At Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Q Brothers Christmas Carol. It was written by Q Brothers Collective (GQ, JQ, JAX, and POS) with music by JQ. It was directed by GQ and JQ. It was about a man named Scrooge (GQ) who was a crotchety old man who was mean to everyone but gets visited by his old business partner Marley (JQ) who sends him three other spirits, the ghosts of Christmas past (Postell Pringle), present (JQ), and future (Jackson Doran, Pringle, and JQ). And, spoiler alert, he has a change of heart. I've seen several other adaptions of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, and I think this was a great new take on it. It is more of a contemporary city version of the story that a lot of people can probably relate to. It seems to take place in a city like Chicago, and I think the music was really good. It got across all the main plot points of the book and also made them hilarious. I think this is such a fun show. I really loved this new take on a Christmas classic.

There were so many funny moments in this play. I loved how Marley's hell was having to only speak in Reggae music. It was so funny how it seemed like he might actually be enjoying the dancing and the singing, because he was giving it his all, but he kept saying how much this was the worst thing in the world for him. You also weren't expecting for Jacob Marley to appear like Bob Marley with dreadlocks and backup dancers, but that made it even funnier. I also really loved the song that Scrooge sang when he first met his girlfriend Belle (JQ). It was all about math and was strangely suggestive. It was hilarious how they combined a Marvin-Gaye-let's-get-it-on-type song with math. I think the moment that I laughed the most was when the actor playing Bob Cratchit (Pringle) was also playing Martha, his daughter. He would just smell the corn on the stove at strange moments to cover that he was talking in Martha's voice when she was offstage. Then he would go offstage and come back on as Martha, who would talk in the corn again, but in her dad's voice. It is such an unnatural thing for someone to do, just randomly smell corn, that it made it more hilarious.

All the performers were really excellent rappers. Every time you turned around, Lil' Tim (JQ) had a new disease; it was really funny how when anyone would say "Aw" he would add something like, "I also have rabies." He would say it sadly like it was a new discovery. And then his entire family would sort of back away a little bit. It is pretty funny seeing a grown man acting like a ten year old doing really good rapping. Also he would dance with his crutch and he could actually do some impressive things. I guess when you can't leave the house because you have been contaminated with every disease known to humanity, you have a lot of spare time to work on busting a move with your busted leg. Scrooge did a song right after he had a change of heart where he went and apologized to everyone and tried to make amends while doing this very awkward and amazing jumping dance. When Scrooge was happy, he apparently had no boundaries, and he just popped up in the bedroom of his nephew Fred (Doran) and his boyfriend (Pringle), and rapped LET'S PLAY CHARADES!!! and did his hopping dance while he did this. And then, for the final song, the whole group sang a song that reminded me of TLC, and I really liked that. The Ghost of Christmas Past reminded me of The Sugar Hill Gang--very old school, very smooth. It was very clever to put an old school rapper as the Ghost of Christmas Past. He did a great job reflecting the styles of old school rappers, which I really liked.

I think this is a great show to bring the whole family to. It has a lot of things that kids will appreciate and are interested in, but it is also true to the Dickens story. The book and the play have the same moral, which is that you should give and forgive and that Christmas should bring people together. It is also about helping people who are not as fortunate as you, and that is a good lesson for the president and all the people that helped to create that stupid tax bill. Unfortunately, the whole Pence at Hamilton ordeal makes me think they wouldn't take too kindly to this play. If they could accept it for what it is, they might have a change of heart, just like Scrooge!

People who would like this show are people who like the Christmas spirit, busting a move with a busted leg, and smelling corn excessively. I think that people should definitely definitely go see this show. It is so much fun and a great thing to bring the whole family to.

Photos: Liz Lauren

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