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BWW Review: A CHRISTMAS CAROL at Golden Gate Theatre

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Dicken's A Christmas Carol

BWW Review: A CHRISTMAS CAROL at Golden Gate Theatre

Charles Dicken's beloved holiday chestnut is the ultimate feel-good vehicle, beautifully staged in this 5-time Tony Award winning production that is sure to pack em in at the Golden Gate Theatre. The feel-good theme of second chances in life resonates strongly in the timeless story of a Ebeneezer Scrooge's transformation from cold, bitter miser to generous, giddy philanthropist.

Lit by dozens of hanging lanterns, the simple set is four door frames signifying Scrooge's office/bedroom. There is a chorus of Christmas hymn singing madrigals playing hand bells and assorted string instruments providing exposition of the tale. The ghostly apparitions arrive with corresponding gloom and dread, especially the arrival of the ghost of Jacob Marley (Ben Beckley). The atmosphere is ethereal and wondrous - great for lovers of the supernatural.

The Ghost of Christmas Present (Amber Iman) displays a world of social disarray, poverty, and misery, where Scrooge easily distances himself and assumes no responsibility - an indictment of him that resonates with our modern times. Scorn and ridicule do not seem to affect Scrooge until his transformation and redemption.

BWW Review: A CHRISTMAS CAROL at Golden Gate Theatre
Francois Battiste (Scrooge) and Ben Beckley (Jacob Marley)

This production, by way of the Old Vic, then a successful 2019 Broadway run, is stunningly beautiful, excellently staged and both classic and contemporary crafted by a team that includes Tony winner Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) and originally directed and conceived by Tony Award winner Matthew Warchus (Matilda), featuring scenic and costume design by Tony Award winner Rob Howell; lighting design by Tony Award winner Hugh Vanstone; sound design by Tony Award winner Simon Baker; music, orchestrations, and arrangements by Tony Award winner Christopher Nightingale; music direction by Matt Smart; music supervision by Paul Staroba; and music coordination by Howard Joines. Hard to go wrong with such a distinguished pedigree.

BWW Review: A CHRISTMAS CAROL at Golden Gate Theatre
San Francisco company of A Christmas Carol

Scrooge is played by Obie award winning stage and screen star Francois Battiste, who commands the stage with his commitment to the Scrooge character without veering towards caricature. His Scrooge is emotionally damaged evidenced by his visitation from the Ghost of Christmas Past (the wonderful Nancy Opel). An abusive father (again Ben Beckley), social isolation and lost love (Ash Malloy) help create the present Scrooge. We can empathize with his mental state while being repelled by its excesses. The excellent cast includes local actors: Samuel Faustine, Rodney Jackson Jr., Annie Sherman, Monica Ho, Ash Malloy, Colin Thompson and Ben Beckley

BWW Review: A CHRISTMAS CAROL at Golden Gate Theatre
San Francisco Company of A Christmas Carol

It's a happy ending for all, replete with a hilarious tongue-in-cheek arrival of food for a Christmas feast at the Cratchit home. It's a modern audience-immersive device that adds a local flavor to the productions (e.g., a pie from a trader named Joe). Add in a dusting of snow and you have the perfect family holiday treat.

A Christmas Carol runs through December 26th, 2021. Tickets can be purchased at 888-746-1799 or online at broadwaysf.com

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus


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