Reviewed by Tom Lawler
Commedia Beauregard presents A KLINGON CHRISTMAS CAROL.
Not being much of a Star Trek fan, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with A Klingon Christmas Carol, but I have to admit I was gobsmacked by a bait-and-switch in the early moments of these intergalactic proceedings. While Commedia Beauregard’s press materials promoted Klingon as a translation of the Charles Dickens classic, this performance opened with an announcement by our Vulcan narrator (a witty Elizabeth Richards) that Dickens actually adapted his holiday classic from this original Klingon story. Nuq??
This was the first of many revelations in this energetic, clever production now back for its fourth year and updated with creative “Steampunk Klingon” costumes (Was Scrooge/SQuja’ wearing cut-off sweater sleeves on his legs?), a sleek multi-level set and some new Klingon weapons that were put to regular use in nifty stage combat sequences (choreographed by Mark Lancaster).
Klingon also features this year a new SQuJa’ in Clark Bender, who ably performs the central role of a coward who has deserted his responsibility as a true Klingon warrior in favor of material wealth. That preceding sentence should give you a sense of how this original Klingon tale deviates from more well-known Dickens classic and Bender vividly embodies his character’s humiliations, fears and ultimately his newfound courage as he embraces his responsibility to fight as a warrior.
Bender and the entire cast work some magic in carrying us along in a story that’s being performed in the guttural Klingon language (subtitles are projected so we can read along if needed), not to mention some heavy make-up that requires them to especially use their eyes and body language to emote their parts. It’s quite a technical feat, and they make it look easy!
There’s a spark in the eyes of Matty Robinson as Nephew Fred/vreD when he takes on a combatant for a joust. He looks to be having a tremendous amount of fun, and it’s feeling you get from watching the entire cast. Looking for a little inspiration to get your inner warrior back? Beam your way to the Raven Theater as soon as you can for Commedia Beauregard’s new holiday classic.
Note: In one of the more creative theater fundraising ideas I’ve seen, guests of A Klingon Christmas Carol have the option of “adopting a Klingon” which includes getting your picture taken with your Klingon and receiving letters from your sponsored Klingon so you can track their well-being through the holidays.
Photo credit: Anne Petersen
Running Time: Two hours with one 15-minute intermission.
At Raven Theater Complex, 6157 N. Clark
Written by Christopher Kidder-Mostrom and Sasha Walloch
Translated by Laura Thurston, Bill Hedrick, Chris Lipscombe and Christopher Kidder-Mostrom
Directed by Christopher Kidder-Mostrom
Thursdays-Saturdays at 8pm; 4pm Sunday matinee performances at 3:30pm
Through Dec 29
Buy tickets at CBTheatre.org or call (773) 338-2177.