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A Christmas Carol (2005)

a Holiday Special
CATEGORY :
by Charles Dickens (Adapted by David H. Bell)

COMPANY : Alliance Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Woodruff Art Center [WEBSITE]
ID# 1445

SHOWING : December 02, 2005 - December 24, 2005

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

The Alliance's annual trip to Dickensland gets a facelift by director Rosemary Newcott in this energetic retelling of the timeless Christmas Classic. Chris Kayser returns as Scrooge, the miser with the sentimental heart.


CAST & CREW LIST
Ensemble Chandra Currelley
Dick Wilkins Brandon Dirden
Bob Cratchit Neal A Ghant
Peter Cratchit Eddie Gillot
Mr. Fezziwig, Ghost of Christmas Present Bart Hansard
Mrs. Fezziwig, Mrs. Dilber Denitra Isler
Martha Cratchit Kelly Jenrette
Martha Cratchit, Fan Kelly Jenrette
Ebenezer Scrooge Chris Kayser
Bess Katie Kneeland
Jacob Marley Daniel May
Ghost of Christmas Past, Peg Megan McFarland
Young Scrooge, Ghost of Christmas Future Thomas Piper
Topper Ken Robinson
Crachit Child, Ensemble Keenan Rogers
Undertaker David Rossetti
Belinda Crachit, Ensemble Morgan Saylor
Fred Brad Sherrill
Mrs. Cratchit Shontelle Thrash
Belle, Fred's Wife Elizabeth Diane Wells
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REVIEWS

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Then and Now
by Dedalus
Monday, December 12, 2005
4.0
Two years ago, I had a Bah-Humbug reaction to Alliance’s annual excursion to Dickensland. I criticized the production for being too big, too long, and too far from the original story.

Two years later, the show is still big, still long, and retains all the diversions from Dickens that bugged me before. The difference is, this year, I thoroughly enjoyed the production, and recommend it very much indeed. This, of course, gives me a perfect opportunity to compare the ghosts of “Christmas Carol” past and present.

THEN: The performance I reviewed was a preview, and, probably, wasn’t up to the energy level required.

NOW: I was at opening night with its corresponding highs of energy and expectation.

THEN: I dozed through a lot of the show, finding the songs and added scenes “filler.” The 2-plus-hour running time stretched forever.

NOW: Director Rosemary Newcott keeps the pace going, does not “stop the show” for the musical numbers, and adds a ton of razzle-dazzle. The added scenes now add an emotional depth I found lacking before (even though the script itself is unchanged). The 2-plus-hour running time goes by in a flash.

THEN: I found many of the scenes contradicted the concept, the idea that the whole story was in Scrooge’s head.

NOW: Perhaps it was the lighting, or a new focus on the actors, but I no longer see the concept rammed down our throats. Yes, the set is more or less the same, the piles of “stuff” symbolizing the clutter of Scrooge’s memory. But now, this is all subtext – the focus is on the story and the scenes can be seen cleanly separate from the clutter on the wings. The concept, while less focused, is ironically clearer because of that softer focus.

I’m not going to spend a lot of energy on a deeper analysis. You all know story. You’ve probably seen the Alliance’s take on this story before. Chris Kayser has played Scrooge often enough that he could do it in his sleep, though, thankfully, he chooses not to. The fact remains, I’m not the same person I was two years ago, and this is not the same show I saw two years ago. Even though I am and it is.

Merry Christmas!

-- Brad Rudy (BKRudy@aol.com)

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