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Review: 'A Christmas Carol Unscripted'

December 5, 2013

If other holiday show are too tame for you, consider visiting ComedySportz’s “A Christmas Carol Unscripted” (Fridays through Dec. 23). You can even make it a double feature if you sneak out during the curtain call of "A Very Phoenix Xmas 8: Angels We Have Heard While High"—as I did—and hustle down the block to Mass Ave. (Watch for a review of the Phoenix show in the Dec. 9 IBJ.)

What doubling up this way up won’t allow for is time to settle into the ComedySportz Theatre, order a snack, and scribble down movie quotes, song lyrics and random sentences. These scraps, dropped into onstage buckets, are used throughout the show as the improvisation team modifies the familiar story, incorporating whatever anonymous lines they happen to draw.

If the crowd when you go is anything like the crowd on my visit, the slips of paper will be rich with “Anchorman” quotes, scatological insults and descriptions of sexual gymnastics. (In case it isn’t clear already, be aware that, unlike the usual fun fare at ComedySportz, this Dickens spoof is for adults only.)

The Nov. 29 opening-night performance featured a cast of local improv vets, rolling with whatever craziness was thrown at them and instigating much of it themselves. Opening with a made-up-on-the-spot madrigal, working a street song into the mix, and creating hilarious and very specific variations on Scrooge (thanks to audience suggestion, a crack dealer) and his visiting ghosts, the show provided exactly what should be expected: laughs by the sleigh-load.

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