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A Christmas Carol (2017)

a Holiday Show
by Tony Brown

COMPANY : Aurora Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Discovery Point Studio [WEBSITE]
ID# 5202

SHOWING : November 24, 2017 - December 23, 2017



Anthony P. Rodriguez is back for the eleventh year with his mesmerizing solo performance of the holiday classic, "A Christmas Carol." Not unlike what Charles Dickens himself did in the 1800’s, Mr. Rodriguez focuses on the classic art of storytelling, using his voice and mannerisms to bring to life Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, Jacob Marley and the remarkable ghosts found in the greatest Christmas story of all time.

The exhilarating one-man Charles Dickens’ "A Christmas Carol" returns for a limited 4-week engagement. Nestled in the intimate 80-seat PeachState Federal Credit Union Studio, the theatre is transformed to make you feel as though Mr. Dickens has personally invited you into his parlor. Although a few amazing theatrical effects have been added, this rendition captures the true spirit of Christmas–the joy of giving. The story is adapted for the stage and directed by Tony Brown. Audiences will remember Mr. Brown from his memorable turns on the Aurora Theatre Stage (Merlin in "Camelot," Colonel Mustard in "Clue: The Musical").

Director Tony Brown
Cast Anthony Rodriguez
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


Standup Scrooge
by playgoer
Monday, December 25, 2017
Aurora’s "A Christmas Carol" is billed as a one-man show. Don’t believe it. Stage manager Anna Lee is called upon at various points to respond as various Dickens characters, and Jacob Marley is portrayed on video as an animated spectral figure. It’s true that Anthony Rodriguez takes on the lion’s share of characters, using a variety of American-tinged accents, but one isn’t amazed by his transformations from one character to the next. It’s part improvised standup and part scripted storytelling.

The flavor of the 75-minute production is of a reading of selections taken directly from Dickens’ text. Some segments, such as Scrooge’s school career, are omitted entirely. Others appear in edited form. The outline of Scrooge’s full story is told, with enough detail to give the impression that the full text is being given its due.

The set, modified slightly from Isabel & Moriah Curley-Clay’s original design, features a wing back chair stage left, a gothic-style desk and chair stage right, and a gothic-style fireplace and mantle up center, with a mirror/projection screen above. Additional projection screens are above the audience as if windows, and greenery and lamp posts help fill the room with Christmas cheer. Projections start with falling snow and progress through a variety of scene-setting images. The bough and ornaments image shown at the introduction of the Ghost of Christmas Present seems weak, but otherwise the projections are impressive.

Dylan Whitfield’s lighting design accommodates the requirements of the script nicely, as does Daniel Pope’s sound design. Stage manager Anna Lee augments sounds at times, ringing a hand bell as the soundtrack joins in with pealing chimes. Ms. Lee also operates the falling snow effect. With Mr. Rodriguez throwing out glitter at one point, first-row audience members are advised to be prepared for the necessity of some post-show grooming.

Tony Brown’s direction has Mr. Rodriguez portraying two people in a conversation by having one face in one direction and the other in the opposite direction, notably when Fred is addressing his Uncle Scrooge, ostensibly sitting at his desk upstage. This can force Mr. Rodriguez to have his back to a segment of the audience as one of the characters for the entire scene, as if Mr. Rodriguez is upstaging himself. Mr. Brown also has Mr. Rodriguez use the British pronunciation of "clerk" ("clark" to American ears) during narrative segments when Mr. Rodriguez is clearly using his own American pronunciation for every other word.

Having audience on three sides can make performances awkward in Aurora’s black box space. Mr. Rodriguez’s forays into the audience attempt to minimize this awkwardness, replacing it with intimacy. His innate stage presence and ease with audience interaction have made this a sold-out production over more than a decade. Personally, I find endless reiterations of "A Christmas Carol" tiresome, but this one seems to be holding its own, eleven years on and counting. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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