Chicago Shakespeare Q BROTHERS CHRISTMAS CAROL Review – Rapping a Christmas Classic

Chicago Shakespeare Q BROTHERS CHRISTMAS CAROL
The Cratchit family—Mama Cratchit (Jackson Doran), Bob Cratchit (Postell Pringle), and Lil’ Tim (JQ)—toasts to Scrooge and the holiday season

While some theatre goers this holiday season might be taking part in their annual tradition of seeing classic holiday shows like The Grinch Who Stole Christmas at the Chicago Theatre or A Christmas Carol at the Goodman, others might be looking for an out of the box holiday production to tickle their fancy. Look no further than the Q BROTHERS CHRISTMAS CAROL.

From the creators of other classic literature pieces turned modern, comes a holiday classic turned homage to a history of hip hop. In this production of CHRISTMAS CAROL, we’re in for a new and upbeat take on the Dickens novel.

Chicago Shakespeare Lights Up the Night

This production has the same plot and recognizable characters as the original from Marley, to the ghosts, and of course Scrooge. The twist here is, all of the lines are rapped or sung and the ghosts feel like they’re taking us through a history of music with their own stylings - including a Rastafarian Jacob Marley, a Sugar Hill Gang tribute to the past, and a dubstep future styling.

Chicago Shakespeare Q BROTHERS CHRISTMAS CAROL
Scrooge (John Hoogenakker, at center) embraces the magic of the holiday season in Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s production of Q Brothers Christmas Carol, presented

They’re also backed by a live DJ, Kieran Pereira, who gets the crowd going during the pre-show by playing some chart-topping hits and calling for crowd interaction. It’s a fun opener to get those of us in the audience ready for the main event.

Comedy Gold Mine

The Q Brothers - JQ and GQ - show off their writing and musical skills with this piece and keep us engaged as the plot moves quickly from ghost to ghost. The cast delivers their lines with clarity, even through spitfire lyrics and we never miss a moment in the story.

Chicago Shakespeare Q BROTHERS CHRISTMAS CAROL
Scrooge (John Hoogenakker) travels through the hip-hop ages—from past to present to future
Chicago Shakespeare Q BROTHERS CHRISTMAS CAROL
Lil’ Tim (JQ, at center) pops a move while Mama Cratchit (Jackson Doran) and Martha Cratchit (Postell Pringle) dance along

They also do not let up on the laughs for a second. JQ has the audience smiling through his set as Lil’ Tim and we can’t help laughing at his morbidly hilarious nature. The cast members play multiple characters and when they’ve got quick changes, they take advantage of these situations to draw as many laughs from the audience as possible.

And not to worry, the spirit of the play remains intact with the same feel good ending that is sure to fill you with holiday cheer.

While there may be two A Christmas Carol productions in town, this isn’t a one or the other type situation. After you’ve finished here, click here to read our review of the highly recommended Goodman production and who knows, maybe both productions will strike your fancy! Though this might not be a good family outing as it’s a lot of adult content, Q BROTHERS A CHRISTMAS CAROL is enjoyable from start to finish and a good fit for anyone who likes comedies, musicals, and contemporary stylings.

Chicago Shakespeare Q BROTHERS CHRISTMAS CAROL
The Ghost of Christmas Past (Postell Pringle) throws it back to Scrooge’s past with the help of his back-up dancers (JQ and Jackson Doran)

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Note: This is now added to the Picture this Post round up of BEST PLAYS IN CHICAGO, where it will remain until the end of the run. Click here to read — Top Picks for Theater in Chicago NOW – Chicago Plays PICTURE THIS POST Loves.

CAST:

John Hoogenakker
JQ
GQ
Jackson Doran
Postell Pringle
James Samson
Kieran Pereira

CREATIVE:

GQ
JQ
Scott Davis
Jesse Klug
Melissa Veal
Anacron
Rick Boynton
Jackson Doran
Postell Pringle

When:

Now through December 30, 2018
Wednesday-Friday at 7:30pm
Saturdays at 6:00pm and 8:30pm
Sundays at 3:00pm

Where:

Chicago Shakespeare Theatre
Navy Pier, 800 E Grand Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611

Note: Picture This Post reviews are excerpted by Theatre in Chicago

Alexis Bugajski Photo: Liz Lin

About the Author

Alexis is a theater reviewer, travel bug, media specialist, and burger & beer enthusiast. During the day she works in the advertising business as a senior communications designer. When night falls, or when she can escape to New York, she’s hitting the theaters to see as many shows as she can. And whenever she’s not at her desk or in the audience, she’s out seeking the best burger and beer offerings in Chicago.

Editor's Note:  Click here to read more Picture this Post articles by Alexis Bugajski

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