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Kudzu Playhouse1
Average Rating Given : 4.00000
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REVIEWS

A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens
Hmm...mixed feelings...
Saturday, December 24, 2005
4.0
I must first state that this is was my third show to have seen at the Kudzu Playhouse. I believe I saw a children's show and A Christmas Carol last year.

The show I would rate overall as a 3.5, yet certain aspects that stood out made me feel it deserved a slightley higher rating. Overall, the set design was good, simple and yet well serving. The rotating walls and bedroom/office were an added bonus. Yet at time the set changes were too noisy, or would reveal actors for the next scene.

The crowd scenes seemed to have little purpose except to fill space on the stage, or to sing an song. The opening scene with Carol of the Bells was wonderful, yet a few people seemed out of place (and pitch). From the first moment when Scrooge (Brink Miller) appears onstage, you feel as if you too want to run away from him. As it reads he has performed as Scrooge or 11 years, it shows in a positive light and he encaptures the audience with his portrayal. He really looks like "Scrooge."

Mr. Cratchit(Greg Fitzgerald) and family did well in their roles, with the only troubling factor being his accent which shifted in and out at times. Tiny Tim (Andrew Kraich/Zach Houser-I'm not sure which one) was adorable, and the rest of the children were "Cratchit"y as well.

Marley(Brad Zuber) was "quite dead" looking, and although his performance wasn't a standout, it was quite entertaining. I found myself laughing along with the rest of the audience at moments. The special light effects and fog really added to the scene.

Next is the Ghost of Christmas Past (Karen Rooker). I really enjoyed her performance, as was more of a spirit figure rather than a ghost(I saw last year's A Christmas Carol, and it seems these two actors took two almost polar views on character). The differences were astounding between this years costume/makeup and lasts'. Going from an all-white wigged character, to one with gold/silver and red green "holiday" makeup and natural hair, made a huge difference. The only problem was when she danced during the Fezziwig scene, it looked very awkward, and I kept getting distracted by her "crown" which bobbled about occasionaly.

The Young Scrooge(David Olson)/Belle(Melissa Goodfellow) scenes were interesting so to say. The two seemed to have some sort of connection, but no tension during the meeting scene. And I was also questioning if Belle was actually English. Then again, they may have been not instructed to have an accent. Other than moreso technical things, I enjoyed this difference of characters between this year and lasts'. I missed the part when Belle was sipposed to sing, yet was possibly better than extending the time of an already long show. The breakup scene was wonderful, and Belle and Scrooge had much more emotional depth than last year. I must compliment their effectiveness during the breakup scene, it almost looked as if one of them was going to cry.(Especially when Young Scrooge falls to his knees before the end of the first act.)

The Fezziwigs were fantastic(Tyler Schaker/Jennifer Bobbitt). They really kept up the energy and were really refreshing during such serious times. Mr. Schaker creates a character that gets the audience laughing when he first appears. I loved Mrs. Fezziwig's mannerisms too. Although, I do miss the engagement of the daughters, but all was well when the Fezziwigs came bursting through the curtains for an intermission speech. I believe that they got more applause than any other scene did the whole first act.

ACT TWO
The Ghost of Christmas Present (Snapper Morgan) was perfectly cast. With a great booming jolly voice, and large stature, he makes an incredible Present. The change in his voice when shifting from being "nice" to Scrooge to warning him the truth was amazing. And it was as he really did physically age during his time.

Fred (Philip Covin/Ned Thurman)was entertaining. He and Alice complimented the show, although they didn't overbear during any part of the show. The party scene was enjoyable, yet it was obvious that many actors were being recycled in parts. I believe I saw the actors who played the Shelleys in at least 3 different scenes during past, present and future.

Ghost of Christmas Future was quite scary and looming. When he rises up, I got chills down my spine. Mrs. Cratchits song was touching, yet not altogether musically warming.

The scene with Old Joe(Wally Hinds) is as always enjoyable. Although I was quite surprised at the casting choices for the laundress(Chelsea Cardwell) and Charwoman(Lindsay Olson)as younger. The song is funny, but almost too long. I felt that Old Joe was the only standout character during this scene, but the Charwoman's makeup was funny(as it seemed she was missing a tooth).

After the 4 or 5 seemingly never ending scenes to wrap up the show, I must say I left pretty content and felt the ticket was well payed for.

~Sydney Walton

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