The holidays. They’re a time of cheer and hope, a time when you get to be with your family and share in joyful merriment… ah, who are we kidding? If Portland Center Stage as anything to say about it, the holidays are a time to revel in the joys of corporate servitude, crotchety old men, disgruntled elves and a few doses of bah humbug – and we couldn’t be more happy about it.
As the Santaland Diaries basks in the glow of unfortunate Christmas moments on the Ellen Bye stage downstairs, The Second City’s A Christmas Carol: Twist Your Dickens graces the U.S. Bank main stage with a gut-busting take on the Christmas classic we are all so familiar with: Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
Although it is loosely based on the Dickens classic, Twist Your Dickens combines a number of hilarious themes into one side-splitting evening of good fun. Originally conceived by the legendary improvisational troupe The Second City, Twist Your Dickens combines funny and witty sketches with relevant social commentary. Expect to be treated to uproarious musical numbers and local celebrities, such as one bagpipe wielding uni-cyclist we all know and love.
For those Dickens enthusiasts out there that feel this is one piece of artistic expression that should be left unaltered, worry not. Although many of the scenes are adapted to the modern day, from a 80s themed Ghost of Christmas Past to a decidedly snarky Peanuts skit, the basic principles are left untouched. Scrooge is still Scrooge, Belle is still Belle, and the world is still the world. Indeed, despite the modern improvisational adaptations, Twist Your Dickens reminds us how little has changed, and that many of the problems of yesteryear were still the problems of yesterday, and likely will still be the problems of tomorrow.
Still, despite providing us with a healthy dose of hilarious cynicism, Twist Your Dickens comes around in the end – as it should. Not even the woeful realities of modern-day life can derail the undercurrent of Christmas cheer in this jaded holiday romp. Lessons will be learned and minds changed as the spirit of the season permeates the room.
This is the final year for Portland Center Stage’s adaptation of Twist Your Dickens, after being the first regional theater company to secure the rights to produce the show after its world debut. Now, after its third successful year, this hilarious show will be bowing out. Catch it now while you can. With two Second City alums occupying the starring roles and an equally talented local cast, you’ll be in for a real theatrical treat.
Tickets for Twist Your Dickens are on sale now and can be purchased at Portland Center Stage’s website, 503.445.3700, or in person at the Gerding Theater at the Armory box office (128 NW Eleventh Avenue, Portland, OR). Regular tickets start at $37. Preview tickets start at $29. Rush tickets are $20. Tickets for students and patrons who are 30 or younger are $25. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays (excluding December 20, 24, 25 and 31); 2 p.m. matinees on Saturdays and Sundays; matinees at noon on Thursday, December 17 and 31; and a special 2 p.m. matinee on December 24. Recommended for ages 14+; contains mature content and strong language. Full schedule and more information click here.