Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Review: A Noise Within Rings in the Holidays with A CHRISTMAS CAROL's Cautionary Tale

Of all the holiday stories written, it would be hard to find one more well-known or popular than Charles Dickens' A CHRISTMAS CAROL. The redemption of a miser named Scrooge whose heart has forgotten the meaning of charity has been adapted, musicalized, spoofed, and dramatized in every medium imaginable, and, like all good cautionary tales, returns as a warning each December. In these trying times, its message about the importance of caring for one's fellow man is as necessary as ever.

Review: A Noise Within Rings in the Holidays with A CHRISTMAS CAROL's Cautionary Tale
Geoff Elliott (center) as Scrooge


A Noise Within remounts its version of the holiday comfort food classic, starring Geoff Elliott as Scrooge, for the sixth year in a row. The adaptation is also by Elliott, who co-directs with wife, Julia Rodriguez-Elliott, and the production features many familiar faces from among the company's pool of resident artists.

Deborah Strang bustles in as the whimsical Ghost of Christmas Past looking like a child's birthday cake topper, amid layers and layers of white flouncy ruffles. Jeremy Rabb, who plays Marley for the first half of the run, dons a fright wig and tattered suit bound with rag-strewn chains extending dramatically up into the balcony. And, as the Ghost of Christmas Present, Stephen Weingartner's elaborately-festooned robe adorned with a Thanksgiving feast's worth of fruit, autumn leaves, and even a miniature pumpkin, looks more like a mechanical set piece when he rolls in than merely a textile from the costume department.

These are looks that make a statement in a production that unabashedly prides itself on its colorful pageantry. But you can't act the costumes. Without a deeper dive into the soul of the characters you end up with a perfectly nice, generally adequate telling of the story; layers and layers of fluff but nothing underneath. To be unmoved by A CHRISTMAS CAROL is disappointing indeed.

It's up to narrator Frederick Stuart (better known to ANW audiences as Freddy Douglas) to inject a sense of warmth in the tale, which he does with sincerity and a knowing twinkle in his eye. His short preludes to the five scenes are pleasing additions that successfully draw the audience in.

Add some shadowy Victorian touches in the scenic and lighting designs by Jeanine A. Ringer and Ken Booth, respectively, to go with those wonderful costumes by Angela Balogh Calin and the pictures play like scene capsules sprung from the pages of a Dickensian pop-up book.


Still, even if some of the performances get glossed over, the moment Scrooge shows up at his nephew's (Rafael Goldstein) door and says, "Will you let me in, Fred?" don't be surprised if you feel a lump in your throat or a tear in your eye. Reconciliation restores the hardest of hearts, especially at Christmas time.

A CHRISTMAS CAROL
December 1 - 23, 2017
A Noise Within
3352 East Foothill Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91107
www.ANoiseWithin.org

Photo credit: Craig Schwartz



Creatives Share Talent, New Work & Network at Placer Reps First 2023 Collaboration LAB Photo
The Divine Spark is the theme explored at Placer Repertory Theater’s first Collaboration LAB of 2023 on January 29 in the Tamraloo Studio E black box in Lincoln, CA.

HAROLD AND MAUDE Comes to the Lonny Chapman Theatre in February Photo
The Group Rep will present the stage adaptation of Colin Higgins’ cult-classic film HAROLD AND MAUDE, directed by Larry Eisenberg, produced by Lloyd Pedersen for the Group Rep.  The play runs February 10 through March 19 on the Main Stage of the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood, CA.

Broadways 1776 Comes To Center Theatre Group This April Photo
Center Theatre Group will present the Broadway revival of Sherman Edwards and Peter Stone's 1776, running April 11- May 7, 2023.

Los Angeles New Play Project Celebrates 2nd Annual Award Recipients Photo
Winning playwrights and producers of the LANPP 2022 grants came together to celebrate the four new plays to be produced in the coming year. Two of the four plays selected are authored by a single playwright, David Johann Kim. Kim's Pang Spa, in a site-specific production staged in Koreatown, will be premiered by Chalk repertory Theatre, a company with a long history of site-specific work.


From This Author - Ellen Dostal

Ellen Dostal is currently the Senior Editor for BroadwayWorld/Los Angeles and a member of the prestigious Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle. She has covered the performing arts community, jazz, and ... (read more about this author)


LISTEN: Podcaster Ashton Marcus and Roberto Williams
Discuss George Orwell's 1984LISTEN: Podcaster Ashton Marcus and Roberto Williams Discuss George Orwell's 1984
November 23, 2022

Roberto Williams stars as the 'Courage is Cowardice' Winston in George Orwell's 1984 at the Grand Annex, San Pedro. Enjoy!

LISTEN: Podcaster Ashton Marcus and A.J. Holmes Discuss YOUNG FRANKENSTEINLISTEN: Podcaster Ashton Marcus and A.J. Holmes Discuss YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN
September 29, 2022

A.J. Holmes stars as the hilariously eccentric Dr. Frederick Frankenstein in Young Frankenstein at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts.

Listen: Podcaster Ashton Marcus and Jared Machado Discuss AMERICAN IDIOTListen: Podcaster Ashton Marcus and Jared Machado Discuss AMERICAN IDIOT
August 3, 2022

Jared Machado discusses his portrayal of Johnny in the musical American Idiot at Chance Theater.

Listen: Podcaster Ashton Marcus and Troy Whitaker Discuss BLOOD PIGListen: Podcaster Ashton Marcus and Troy Whitaker Discuss BLOOD PIG
June 29, 2022

Director Troy Whitaker discusses the play Blood Pig at the Actors Company @ LA Comedy Festival (Other Space Theater).

Listen: BWW Podcaster Ashton Marcus and Benjamin Perez Discuss IN THE HEIGHTS at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing ArtsListen: BWW Podcaster Ashton Marcus and Benjamin Perez Discuss IN THE HEIGHTS at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts
June 8, 2022

Director Benjamin Perez (as Kevin Rosario - whether it's shoe polish or his daughter’s education, he knows the right investment) discusses the character he plays in IN THE HEIGHTS at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts.