BWW Reviews: A CHRISTMAS CAROL is a Delightful Fusion of Thrills, Chills, and Happy Nostalgia
Patrick Barlow's (39 Steps) A CHRISTMAS CAROL has added a whole new color to the classic Dickens' tale.
A multi-talented cast of five pulls of this new adaption: Mark Light-Orr, Jessie Shelton, Franca Vercelloni, Mark Price (Mary Poppins, All Shook Up), and Peter Bradbury (Cyrano..., That Championship Season) as Scrooge. Joe Calarco directs.
This isn't your garden variety Christmas Carol. One of the most defining elements of the production is the use of a turntable, making every regular theatre goer and theatre maker question why this particular show isn't always done this way. While other actors seem to stick to the stoic, crotchety, and sometimes distant portrayal, Bradbury, in the best possible way, encompasses a more sarcastic, slippery, and if possible, more stubborn persona as Scrooge. The rest of the company plays a variety of familiar characters, not to mention a series of musical instruments, and even break into song now and again. The portrayal of the ghostly Jacob Marley and the frightening final spirit are both eerie, utilizing a combination of shadows, exaggerated lighting, and haunting sound design. Jessie Shelton's Ghost of Christmas Present is reminiscent of a delightfully cheeky Mrs. Lovett, with a pinch of Carol Kane's portrayal of the same ghost in Scrooged.
Interestingly, as Scrooge is learning of his potential fate with the help of the final spirit, Barlow does a Pippin: the actors drop their accents and mannerisms to tell Scrooge he's in a play, he's died, and now the play is over. A bow and a blackout cause every audience member under the age of twelve turn to their respective parent in confusion. The play, however, continues, finishing off in its typically pleasant fashion: in his one eighty in personality, Bradbury beautifully captures Scrooge's awakened compassion. This fresh take on the original Christmas story is not to be missed by Dickens fans.
Now playing at the Theatre at St. Clement's, A CHRISTMAS CAROL is a holiday treat for the whole family. Still in previews, the show formally opened on Monday, November 25th. Tickets, priced at $75, are available at www.Telecharge.com or by calling 212-239-6200. Premium seating is available.