4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Scrooge in Rouge at Diversionary

I wonder if Charles Dickens had any idea how much "A Christmas Carol" would proliferate. Come the yuletide season, there are different versions in every American city.

A note to budding theater critics (along with encouragement to keep going and keep learning): you will see more productions of A Christmas Carol than any other play. Five, maybe even ten times more, in fact. And because you will see so many - over 50 in my case - you'll be grateful for the occasional spoof, especially when done as well as Diversionary's Scrooge in Rouge.

We're in a Victorian music hall, watched over by a portrait of the Queen. All 20 members of the Variety Players were going to perform the Dickens story but, alas and alack, 17 came down with food poisoning ("an undigested bit of beef"?). So Vesta Virile, legendary male impersonator, and two other troopers must essay the various roles, from Marley's Ghost to Tiny Tim. Fortunately they've got a crack pianist (Rick Shaffer), and the music hall's noted for its cross-dressers, so switching genders'll be a cinch.

What follows is polished chaos: split-second costume changes, at least 20 musical numbers (book and lyrics, Ricky Graham, music, Jefferson Turner) in 90 minutes, and a nose-dive for the bawdy, often when Dickens wants to amp up the sentiment.

Vesta, a famous male-impersonator, plays Scrooge. He's so tight-fisted "fortune tellers have to read his knuckles." Somehow, multi-talented Jacque Wilke both conveys and spoofs his meanness, in part because Vesta has a cruel streak - she cooked the poisoned meal - and such a whopping sense of superiority she deems Scrooge a lesser curmudgeon.

Stewart Calhoun, relative newcomer, fits right in as Charlie Schmaltz. Along with portraying a host of Dickensian beings - all appropriately cartooned - Calhoun delivers so many groaners you'd think we were in the office of a 19th century dentist.

Diversionary first staged Scrooge in 2008. Tony Houck earned a Craig Noel Award for his performance as daft Lotte Obbligato. He reprises the role, once again with a clear, coloratura soprano. Houck also directed this year's version with such a knowing sense of theatricality he merits other assignments, soon.

The production offers a festive set by David Medina, precise lighting by Luke Olson, and a cornucopia of period costumes by Jennifer Brawn Gittings.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Mira Mesa First Assembly of God Church: a life transformed

Keeping the world out of the church and getting the church into the world
Next Article

A5 old fashioned: Wagyu fat-washed bourbon

The essence of the richness of steak

I wonder if Charles Dickens had any idea how much "A Christmas Carol" would proliferate. Come the yuletide season, there are different versions in every American city.

A note to budding theater critics (along with encouragement to keep going and keep learning): you will see more productions of A Christmas Carol than any other play. Five, maybe even ten times more, in fact. And because you will see so many - over 50 in my case - you'll be grateful for the occasional spoof, especially when done as well as Diversionary's Scrooge in Rouge.

We're in a Victorian music hall, watched over by a portrait of the Queen. All 20 members of the Variety Players were going to perform the Dickens story but, alas and alack, 17 came down with food poisoning ("an undigested bit of beef"?). So Vesta Virile, legendary male impersonator, and two other troopers must essay the various roles, from Marley's Ghost to Tiny Tim. Fortunately they've got a crack pianist (Rick Shaffer), and the music hall's noted for its cross-dressers, so switching genders'll be a cinch.

What follows is polished chaos: split-second costume changes, at least 20 musical numbers (book and lyrics, Ricky Graham, music, Jefferson Turner) in 90 minutes, and a nose-dive for the bawdy, often when Dickens wants to amp up the sentiment.

Vesta, a famous male-impersonator, plays Scrooge. He's so tight-fisted "fortune tellers have to read his knuckles." Somehow, multi-talented Jacque Wilke both conveys and spoofs his meanness, in part because Vesta has a cruel streak - she cooked the poisoned meal - and such a whopping sense of superiority she deems Scrooge a lesser curmudgeon.

Stewart Calhoun, relative newcomer, fits right in as Charlie Schmaltz. Along with portraying a host of Dickensian beings - all appropriately cartooned - Calhoun delivers so many groaners you'd think we were in the office of a 19th century dentist.

Diversionary first staged Scrooge in 2008. Tony Houck earned a Craig Noel Award for his performance as daft Lotte Obbligato. He reprises the role, once again with a clear, coloratura soprano. Houck also directed this year's version with such a knowing sense of theatricality he merits other assignments, soon.

The production offers a festive set by David Medina, precise lighting by Luke Olson, and a cornucopia of period costumes by Jennifer Brawn Gittings.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close