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A Christmas Carol

a Play
CATEGORY : COMEDY DRAMA
by Charles Dickens

COMPANY : The New American Shakespeare Tavern [WEBSITE]
VENUE : The New American Shakespeare Tavern [WEBSITE]
ID# 3890

SHOWING : December 01, 2010 - December 23, 2010

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

Our heartwarming and intimate rendition of A Christmas Carol returns! Join us as we celebrate the season with Scrooge, Cratchit, Marley and three ghosts. Full of music and laughter, love and family, this show is designed to put you in the holiday Spirit! We bring it back every year as a gift to you and yours.


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Tony Brown
Ensemble Becky Cormier
Ensemble Matt Felten
Ensemble Paul Hester
Ensemble Andrew Houchins
Ensemble Rivka Levin
Ensemble Matt Nitchie
Ensemble Mary Ruth Ralston
Ebenezer Scrooge Drew Reeves
Ensemble Clarke Weigle
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

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by americangirl2498
Thursday, December 22, 2011
5.0
The show is so good, I've been to see it for seven years, once a year as a Christmas tradition. The music is beautiful, and the way the actors sing, act, and move onstage, you can tell that the show means a lot to them. They pour their heart and soul into the performance. This show blends music, comedy, and audience interaction into an overall masterpiece of theater. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Telling the Story
by Dedalus
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
4.0
Once again, I wended my way to the Shakespeare Tavern for the requisite Cream-Cheese Brownie and story-centric retelling of everyone’s favorite Dickens story (pipe down all you “Cricket on the Hearth” fanatics!). This was my third Tavern “Carol,” and it holds up as well as expected, with last year’s few pace lapses filled in nicely.

Adapted and directed by Tony Brown, this version takes a “Nicholas Nickleby” approach – a troupe of “storytellers” share narration duties and slip into and out of a multitude of characters with a flick of a costume piece, an adjusted posture, an altered voice. The standard Tavern set has been decorated simply, but still with a Victorian flair. Live musicians carol us (and each other), and the story flows like a stream of stuffing from a goose.

Anchoring the entire affair is Drew Reeves’ umpty-umpth foray into Scrooge. This is a Scrooge who takes enormous delight in his miserliness, almost a lip-smacking joy in making peoples’ lives miserable. It’s an approach I hadn’t seen before (at least since his 2009 performance), and it still works. It adds a new layer of subtext to the “Christmas Past” scenes, in that we see not Scrooge’s regret on how he treated everyone, but his regret in the joy he took in that maltreatment.

The storytellers are universally skilled, creating sharp characterizations and voices that are as vivid as they are accurate. None stand out from each other; all stand out when compared to other ensembles. Just to give credit where it’s due, good job to Andrew Houchins, Paul Hester, Rivka Levin, Becky Cormier Finch, Matt Felten, Matt Nitchie, Mary Ruth Ralston, and Clarke Weigle. They also carol very well together. Once again, the numbers at the top of the show did not come across as so much “padded fill,” but as an extended “setting of the mood.” I think knowing that they were going to be there mitigated the “let’s the story going” frustration I felt in previous years.

When all is said and done, this production appeals to my Dickensophilia, to my fondness for Readers Theatre tropes, and to my appreciation of skilled performers who can create a world in my imagination.

I daresay other “Christmas Carols” will take a more traditional approach (or, in the Alliance’s case, more grandiose). I daresay I will find them equally compelling.

But, to see this Storyteller’s adaptation is to remind us that, especially to us skeptics and cynics, Story is the real appeal of this season, of this tale, of this venue.

As last year, this production is anything but Humbug!

-- Brad Rudy (BKRudy@aol.com)


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