A Q Brothers' Christmas Carol
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★★½ "'A Q Brothers' Christmas Carol' is billed as a work in progress at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, where it plays the upstairs venue there on Navy Pier. Certainly the party was not a work in progress but very much under way on Saturday night. Q shows attract a much younger crowd than you'd find at, say, "The Merry Wives of Windsor" downstairs and, what with the thousands of tiny lights that make up Scott Davis' and Jesse Klug's visuals, the brews available for carriage into the theater and an 80-minute running time, this was quite the scene. Certainly, if you have teens at home rolling their eyes at the very prospect of some family outing to one of those usual Christmas pageants, this one likely will spark more interest. And it's savvy and witty enough to appeal to a broad swath of folks. That said, it certainly is an artistic work in progress. I very much liked the first half-hour, replete with the besuited Scrooge doing his miserly thing; Ari and Rahm Emanuel making a cameo appearance as those charity guys who ask Scrooge for money and instead get a lecture on the workhouse; a scene in Fezzi's wig shop; and, of course, the reggae Jacob. Tiny Tim, know known as Lil' Tim and played hilariously and satirically by JQ, also is a keeper. He's in need of a kidney transplant and he knows how to pull some sentimental strings. But the ghost of Christmas Present is a bust, Christmas Future is not all it could be, and the Cratchit scenes don't pop as they should." -Chris Jones