BWW Review: At J. Max Baker's ONE CHRISTMAS CAROL, One Man is All You Need
When a story is as woven in people's collective consciousness as A Christmas Carol is, how does one go about making their adaptation stand out amongst countless others? It turns out, all you have to do is be J. Max Baker. A one man retelling of A Christmas Carol is far from an easy feat, and Baker takes on all 34 characters with finesse, personality, humor, and skill.
One Christmas Carol, adapted by Douglas H. Baker (father of J. Max Baker) runs at a tight, finely tuned hour and fifteen minutes. There isn't an excess word, dragged-out moment, or lull to be seen in the performance, which has everything to do with its star's masterful command of the pacing of the story.
Baker is a storyteller, plain and simple. He wears each character like a second skin, playing two, three, four people in the same scene naturally, assuming the physicality of the characters with specificity, while still leaving enough room in his interpretation for the audience to exercise their imagination. The audience is introduced to his Ebenezer Scrooge first, hunched over and gravel-voiced. Then Baker flips the switch, alters his posture, accent, and the timbre of his voice, and becomes Bob Cratchit, the narrator, a young boy caroling, the ghost of Jacob Marley and countless other characters without stumbling over a transition or missing a beat in the script.
The set is nothing more than three chairs, maneuvered throughout the show to represent the change in location during Scrooge's journey with the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet-to-Come. This production relies heavily on the sound and lighting design to convey imagery, and both are done beautifully and effectively.
If you are a fan of A Christmas Carol, a fan of great storytelling, or simply curious how one man could manage to pull off playing so many characters in such a classic story, you should absolutely make your way to The Bridge Theatre to see J. Max Baker in One Christmas Carol.
There are two more chances to see One Christmas Carol:
Dec 15 at 1PM & 7PM, The Bridge Theatre.