By Claire DeMarco, ‘Burgh Vivant
Imagine “A Christmas Carol” told from a present-day Pittsburgh perspective. The Charles Dickens classic is updated with a Pittsburgh twist at the fictitious “dahntahn” WBRC Studios in Bricolage’s 11th annual Midnight Radio Series, “Yinzer Scrooged: A Pittsburgh Christmas Carol.”
We follow Jeffenezer Scroogeoff (Wali Jamal) as his story is told – his early upbringing, why he became a mean, stingy, Jagoff, and the people he affected along the way.
Andrew Carnegie (Michael McBurney) is one of the ghosts who haunt Scroogeoff while Lena Horne (Shammen McCune) sings to him.
Flashbacks to a Young Scroogeoff (Connor McCanlus) give us some indication as to how he behaved in his youth. His awful treatment of his housekeeper Barbara Cratchet (Jaime Slavinsky) supports his present miserly behavior.
References to Pittsburgh people, locations and food are often interspersed with Pittsburgh accents.
The actors’ movements are confined to traveling from one part of the studio to another in order to assume another role or to participate in making the appropriate sounds associated with the story. But it’s really about the vocals.
If you close your eyes for a few minutes you won’t miss anything. It’s all about sound.
McBurney, McCanlus, McCune and Slavinsky take on multiple roles in this 1940’s radio-style format.
Jamal’s deep, rich voice is a joy to hear as he portrays the mean, rich guy.
McBurney is able to easily transition from an Andrew Carnegie ghost with a beautiful Scottish brogue to a mellow Fred Rogers.
McCune’s skit as an audio recording spewing out directions on MapBurg is excellent.
McCanlus transitions easily from a youthful sounding Young Scroogeoff to an even younger Tiny Tony.
Slavinsky’s Pittsburgh accent is spot on.
Musical Director Deana Muro’s music was subtle, yet sharp.
If you’re the least bit nebby on how this radio show ends, finish your pierogi dinner, head down to Pixburgh and become part of the audience n’at. It’s an enjoyable evening.
“Yinzer Scrooged: A Pittsburgh Christmas Carol” is a production of Bricolage Production Company, 937 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15222 and runs from December 5 – 21, 2019. For more information, click here.