A man playing a woman, a woman playing a man, and a cast of four playing 20 including musical accompaniment and beaucoup costumes - that’s a theatrical challenge worth seeing at any price in any venue. Throw in a Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol plot as a premise, place the action in a British Musical Hall and you’ve got a refreshing take on the classically overdone story.
Scrooge in Rouge! at Le Chat Noir is another Ricky Graham showcase – he’s the director, book and lyrics author and a co-producer with Jeffrey Roberson. Oh yes, he also stars in the production with Jefferson Turner (composer, arranger and pianist), Miss Varla Jean Merman and Yvette Hargis. Let’s face it; a Graham endeavor is a hit with the New Orleans-based audience no matter what’s in the spotlight although it’s rare the offering is anything but delightful and top quality. The cast works extremely well together with super timing and effortless costume changes.
The holiday production is raucously funny, titillating and truly reflects ( I suppose) a music hall atmosphere. From the lively opening “At the Music Hall” number to the highly amusing and not-related-to-the plot “Let’s All Reside Beside the Seaside” extravaganza, you’ll be delighted with clever lyrics, catchy music and witty dialogue. Who cares if you forget all about following the Ghosts of Christmas – you know what happens to Scrooge anyway.
The technical crew is outstanding. Just see this show for the wigs by Amanda Hebert and the consumes by Cecile Casey Covert – you will be impressed at the high quality, high quantity and great design for the fast-paced changes. Lighting by Su Gonczy and choreography by Blake Coheley are equally excellent. Just as a complicated Dickens’ novel is precise with abundant detail, so are the technical elements of Scrooge in Rouge.
My New Year’s resolution for 2008 – never see another production, movie or television program based on A Christmas Carol. If I break that resolution, however, it would be to see Scrooge in Rouge, just one more time!
Back Row Facts:
Length of play – one hour and twenty minutes, no intermission.
Language and Lewd Factor – language okay; lewd and raucous as a Music Hall show would be.
Family fitness - adults only.
It’s a puzzlement! What makes a man dressing as a woman funnier than a woman dressing as a man?