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BWW Review: A CHRISTMAS CAROL at Ridgefield Theater Barn

A CHRISTMAS CAROL thrives as a one man show!

BWW Review: A CHRISTMAS CAROL at Ridgefield Theater Barn

After not having seen live theater since March, it was so wonderful going back to the Ridgefield Theater Barn in Ridgefield, CT, on Saturday, November 28th, to see the opening night live performance of phenomenal actor Patrick Spadaccino's brilliant one man adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic A CHRISTMAS CAROL. I have seen A CHRISTMAS CAROL live many times before and even acted in it three times. I have also seen plenty of movie versions, including cartoon adaptations. This, however, is a unique interpretation that is well worth the experience! It stays true to the traditional story and message, while presenting it in a fresh and innovative manner!

I realize with Covid-19 that many people may feel hesitant on coming out to see a live show. Let me reassure everyone that I felt perfectly safe the entire time. The Ridgefield Theater Barn has meticulously cleaned and disinfected the entire facility. The cabaret style tables are socially distanced and every patron is required to wear a mask at all times when inside the theater. During the Covid-19 restrictions, there is no eating or drinking in the theater, and no one is placed at a table with people with whom they do not know. So, in purchasing tickets one must purchase in groups of four, which is perfect for two couples to experience the show together, or for a family of four, since this is a family friendly show.

Some people may wonder how it is possible to successfully pull off a show of this magnitude having only one actor playing the twenty-five different roles. When you have an actor of the caliber of Patrick Spadaccino acting under the stellar direction of Scott R. Brill, this can and has been done with tremendous success. Patrick Spadaccino's myriad of roles are so convincing that it is easy for the audience to forget that this is only one actor bringing all this greatness to the stage! His accents and voice inflections make it very clear which character is speaking, while his narration fills in the gaps. The feeling, emotion, and energy he brings for a ninety minute non-stop performance is incredibly impressive. Some nontraditional comical quips that he throws in are well received by the audience.

The show is enhanced by the music composition of Nick Bicât, the sound design of Matt Austin, and lighting design of Matt Pagliaro.

It is the traditional story of miserly Ebenezer Scrooge who is so enraptured by the material things of this world that he has turned his back on his fellow man, including his own family, his love interest, his employee, and the needy. His late business partner Jacob Marley had the same callous attitude during life, and as a suffering apparition manifests his presence to warn Ebenezer of the need to repent of his failure to have compassion or concern for the well being of others. Ebenezer is then haunted by three spirits, one showing him unchangeable shadows of his past, another showing him how his behavior and attitudes are adversely impacting present events, and the third showing him his projected future if Ebenezer continues to walk further down the broad path of destruction that Ebenezer had previously felt no need to abandon.

The show does an excellent job juxtaposing the misery of Ebenezer Scrooge, in spite of his worldly wealth, with the joy of his nephew Fred and employee Bob whose riches are not financial, but instead are found in their virtuous Christian attitudes of love, compassion, gratefulness, and forgiveness.

Patrick Spadaccino truly inspires in this powerful performance. It helps make me want to reach out and help every impoverished person in the world, or at least to focus on one family in need of a Christmas miracle, and hope all others who have the means can do the same during this time when so many people have lost their jobs or businesses and could really use the assistance of others, moved by grace. This show helps remind us all of what is truly important and how to prioritize in accordance with it.

I highly recommend A CHRISTMAS CAROL which is scheduled to continue to run at the Ridgefield Theater Barn in Ridgefield, CT every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evening at 8:00 P.M., with Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM through December 20th. For tickets, please go to the Ridgefield Theater Barn website at https://ridgefieldtheaterbarn.org/. For those who are not yet comfortable attending live theater, there will also be a virtual performance available to purchase from the website, starting Friday, December 4th.


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From This Author Sean Fallon