BWW Review: A CHRISTMAS CAROL Enchants the Citadel
It's a wonderful time of year for Edmonton theatre fans! A Christmas Carol returns to the Citadel for its 20th consecutive season, this time in a brand-new production written by local playwright David van Belle. This dazzling new interpretation shines like a golden age musical, pulsing with spirited jazz renditions of holiday tunes while still retaining the story's ghostly overtones. Set in the post-war 1940s, van Belle's production re-imagines Ebenezer Scrooge (Ted Dykstra) as a surly department store tycoon, flaunting his wealth in a pinstripe suit and barking orders at his frazzled employees. However, Scrooge's cruel resolve wavers upon a confrontation by the baleful ghost of his business partner Jacob Marley (Julien Arnold), an otherwise uneventful Christmas Eve night unfolding in three journeys to Christmases past, present, and future.
Ted Dykstra is dynamic as Scrooge, inhabiting the role as he would a custom-made coat. Whether growling infamous "humbugs!" or quivering before fearsome spirits, Dykstra paints a captivating portrait of a bitter soul turned good Samaritan, breathing life into Scrooge's journey from the moment he steps onstage.
Alison MacDonald shines in her role as the steadfast war widow Mrs. Crachit, delivering a strong performance and crystal-clear vocals. Pint-sized performer Sasha Rybalko endears as Tiny Tim while local favourite John Ullyatt brings down the house as the wacky Ghost of Christmas Present, delivering a larger-than-life performance reminiscent at times of the great Robin Williams. As whole, the cast is delightful, everyone from the leads to shop girls to carollers breathing life into their roles with emotive characterizations and spirited renditions of Yuletide classics such as It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year and It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas. And that's saying nothing of the onstage band and peppy featured vocalist Chariz Faulmino.
Entertaining and heartwarming, this re-imagined A Christmas Carol is an irresistible holiday treat. It plays at the Citadel until December 23rd.