Without a Cue spins "A Christmas Carol" into interactive murder mystery
Scrooge was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that.
Driving the news: Actors at Without a Cue Productions are reprising "A Christmas Carol," the Charles Dickens' classic, into an interactive murder mystery.
- Spoiler alert: The novel's miserly protagonist gets whacked, and it's up to you to solve the holiday whodunit.
Why it matters: The parody, which opened this month, has become as much of a holiday tradition for local families as putting out milk and cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve.
- Without a Cue says it's been putting on the show for a decade, but this is the first time performing it in the Red Rum Theater, its new, permanent home.
The intrigue: The story follows the ghostly intervention that transforms Scrooge into a generous soul who begins giving away his money.
- But then something goes "horribly wrong," cast members tell Axios.
- The audience soon finds out that Scrooge — not the ghost Marley — is "as dead as a doornail."
- And Tiny Tim — he of "God bless us, everyone" goodwill — is all grown up and has become a big jerk.
What they're saying: "Scrooge spoiled him too much, and now he's one of those kids," Traci Connaughton, executive director of Without A Cue tells Axios.
Between the lines: Mary Tomson, who plays Mrs. Dilber, Scrooge's maid, compares the production to "The Muppet Christmas Carol."
- Actors don Victorian-era costumes and slip clues into spirited, comical exchanges with the crowd, some of which are ad-libbed.
- Lesser-known characters from Dickens' novel narrate the story. Surprisingly, Scrooge doesn't make a single appearance.
Flashback: Without A Cue started two decades ago as a roving band of "minstrels" who performed shows at whatever regional venues would book them.
- The theater company has now found a permanent home at the Red Rum Theater inside the historic Curtis building in Old City. It's coming up on its one-year anniversary in the building.
The big picture: Cast members who have been with the troupe for years say they're fortunate to be part of the journey.
- While many actors lost work during the pandemic, Without A Cue's cast survived by putting on Zoom parties that connected them to nationwide audiences.
- "We got it down to a science," Monica Fotusky, who plays Edwina in the Dickens' parody, tells Axios.
🧠 Be smart: The actors' advice for first-timers? Don't be a Scrooge. Have fun and don't be shy.
- Oh, and for all the "bah, humbugs" expecting a serious piece of theater — well, there's always "The Nutcracker."
If you go: Every Friday-Sunday through Dec. 30. Tickets: $40.
More Philadelphia stories
No stories could be found
Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Philadelphia.