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A Christmas Carol (2011)

a Holiday Show
by Charles Dickens

COMPANY : Alliance Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Woodruff Art Center [WEBSITE]
ID# 4194

SHOWING : November 25, 2011 - December 24, 2011



Back for its 22nd smash year, the most heartwarming story of the entire season comes to life with Ebenezer Scrooge’s discovery of the true meaning of Christmas over the course of one fateful evening. Journey through the beloved Dickens tale meeting favorite characters along the way like the generous Mr. Fezziwig, the selfless and beautiful Belle and the adorable Tiny Tim. And with a new-this-season surprise – all we can tell you is you might want to warm up your singing voice before you arrive.

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Still Spectacular After All These years
by Dedalus
Tuesday, December 27, 2011

“Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that.”

When the reading public first saw these words on 17 December 1843, there was little indication that the story that followed would evolve into a Holiday Icon. Greeted with near-universal acclaim, Charles Dickens little “Ghost Story of Christmas,” written in five “staves,” soon outsold all his longer works, giving Mr. Dickens a second career as a performer. Always a lover of amateur theatrics, he performed “A Christmas Carol” hundreds of times throughout the rest of his life.

Some have even accused the story of “setting the stage” and popularizing many of our modern Christmas traditions and rituals. Others have blamed it for the increasing secularization of the holiday. Whatever the truth, it remains a favorite of mine and a favorite of theatres everywhere. Thousands of stage (and film) adaptations exist, and many theatres create their own, tailoring the story to the particular talents of each group.

I’ve been reviewing multiple “Carols” for years now, and, as usual, I’m a real glutton for more. Itdidn’t warm to the Alliance’s over-the-top, multi-ethnic version at first, but now, I look forward to it every year. I still really like this show. It is a marvellously engaging and clever production, a testament to both the Alliance Stagecraft and ensemble work, and I thoroughly recommend it. This year, there were a number of cast changes, which gave the production a veneer of freshness that made it go down easier than warm egg nog on a frosty night. So, I hereby resurrect my usual pastiche (slightly rewritten) for your reading displeasure:

(With apologies to Mr. Dickens, Clement Clarke Moore, and anyone with a taste for poetry.)

‘Twas the month before Christmas, and on every stage,
“A Christmas Carol” played, it’s still all the rage!
A thousand-one Cratchits, four-thousand-four ghosts
Help Scrooge thaw his heart, help Fred make his toasts.

I’ll soon be re-writing of other forays,
Th’Alliance’s effort’s the subject these days.
It’s my eighth year seeing this marvellous play,
It’s my sixth year in keeping my quibbling at bay.

Chris Kayser’s old miser’s a pleasure to see –
His road to redemption’s realistic for me.
I liked all the Cratchits, they could do no wrong.
I liked the extravagant staging and song.

This year, a new face, Ghost of Christmases Past
Is Elizabeth Berkes, most wonderf’lly cast!
Marley’s David de Vries is most creaky and cold,
His chains and his darkness are vivid and bold.

And all of the costumes and all of the lights
Are beautif’lly rendered, are beautiful sights.
Yes, once again Rosemary Newcott succeeds
In staging this marvellous Holiday Deed.

This tale never tires, it gives me a lift.
For me it’s a welcome Victorian gift.
So, while you are wallowing in Christmassy cheer,
Catch up with this show ere the end of the year.

Before I sign off with my usual cheek,
Merry Christmas to All! May you have a safe week!

-- Brad Rudy(



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