Review: A CHRISTMAS CAROL at Syracuse Stage

This production runs through December 31st.

By: Dec. 04, 2023
Review: A CHRISTMAS CAROL at Syracuse Stage

  If you need an elixir for seasonal melancholy or a boost of holiday cheer, Syracuse Stage offers a spiced punch of a show with an exuberant and spectacular retelling of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. This all-new production invigorates the classic tale with original music, lavish costumes, jaunty dancing and dazzling acrobatics while maintaining the story’s Victorian charm.  Produced in conjunction with Syracuse University Department Of Drama and energized by New York City based 2 Ring Circus, this A Christmas Carol is bursting with warmth, fun and convivial delight.  It is holiday entertainment for the whole family.

  Richard Hellesen’s adaptation of the classic novella is true to the original.  It takes us on Scrooge’s journey from misanthropy to magnanimity.   Impelled by the ghost of his partner, Jacob Marley, and guided by the power of three Christmas spirits, Scrooge is forced to examine his past, present and future.  It is the heartwarming tale we have all grown to know and love.  David de Berry’s music is both new and properly nostalgic.  His carols in particular work perfectly to create the feeling of communal joy celebrated at Christmastime.

  The charm of Victorian London is brought to life by director Melissa Rain Anderson.  The ensemble of over three dozen performers comprised of professional actors, university students and local community members fill the stage with vivacity and good cheer.  2 Ring Circus with their lively acrobatics evoke both the magical power of the holiday spirit and at times the ominous presence created by Scrooge’s initial selfishness and greed. Their work with aerial silks and grounded somersaulting alternates between heavenliness and hellishness, but always a constant reminder that this story is otherworldly. Choreography by Andrea Leigh-Smith and music direction by Brian Cimmet highlight the movement and vocal abilities of this talented cast.

  Because of the wide rage of experience, the quality of acting in this production varies, but the sense of ensemble works well throughout.  Though it is easy to miss the psychological depth of a traditional brooding and haunted Scrooge, Sam Gregory’s clear, light and villainously cartoonish portrayal is perfectly in keeping with this light-hearted celebration of Christmas.  Jim Poulos as Bob Cratchit radiates warmth, caring and familial love.  His mildness and positivity perfectly contrasts with Scrooge’s miserly callousness.  Erick Pinnick as both the Subscription Gentleman and the Ghost of Christmas Present is mirthful with a mellifluous voice. Katy Tang creates an ethereal and graceful Ghost of Christmas Past and a strong, long-suffering Mrs. Cratchit.  Most impressively, David Lowenstein fleshes out four distinct characters.  His Fezziwig capers delightfully and warms the room with his gracious stewardship while his Old Joe is comically crusty and cynical.  In fact, the entire cast functions admirably together punctuated by a very tiny Tiny Tim (Oliver Potorac) exclaiming, “God bless us, everyone!”

  Syracuse Stage’s A Christmas Carol is a must see for those of us looking to enhance our holiday spirit. It is impossible to leave this production and not be smiling.  Check your Christmas list, find that Scroogey sourpuss and gift them this convivial cup of theatrical cheer.  It is sure to please.  A Christmas Carol runs thru December 31st. Tickets can be purchased by going to or by calling (315) 443-3275 or by visiting the box office at 820 East Genesee Street.