Review: FELLOW PASSENGERS from Strawberry Theatre Workshop

Which production of A Christmas Carol do you want?

By: Dec. 04, 2023
Review: FELLOW PASSENGERS from Strawberry Theatre Workshop
Enter Your Email to Unlock This Article

Plus, get the best of BroadwayWorld delivered to your inbox, and unlimited access to our editorial content across the globe.




Existing user? Just click login.

Review: FELLOW PASSENGERS from Strawberry Theatre Workshop
Amy Thone and Galen Joseph Osier in
Fellow Passengers from
Strawberry Theatre Workshop.
Photo credit: John Ulman

It’s the holiday season, Dear Readers, and you know what that means.  Myriad productions of “A Christmas Carol” in the area.  Just to name a few, there’s the old, trusty standby production out at ACT.  And last week I saw an amazing one man “Christmas Carol” performed by the incredible Allen Fitzpatrick.  But today we’re going to talk about “Fellow Passengers” from Strawberry Theatre Workshop currently performing at 12thAvenue Arts.  Yes, it’s “A Christmas Carol”, but this adaptation by Greg Carter is so much more, and absolutely blew me away.

It's all here.  Scrooge and Marley.  Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim.  And, of course, the three ghosts of Christmases past, present, and future.  But when I say, “It’s all here”, I mean ALL.  Carter has included the entire text from the Charles Dickens novella, showing me elements I’ve never seen before.  We see many more images of Christmas Present well beyond the confines of London.  And those glorious speeches are much more robust than I ever remember.  I’m sure those bits have been edited for time and the dwindling attention span of audiences in other productions, but the whole thing is here.

You may think that this is a drawback of this particular production, but in the gifted hands of this adapter, cast, and crew, you couldn’t be more wrong.  I need to start with the actors.  Did I mention there are only three of them playing all the characters?  Oh, and did I mention that they are some of the cream of the crop in Seattle?  Way to bury the lead, Jay!  Well, this production is absolutely blessed with Shermona Mitchell, Galen Joseph Osier, and Amy Thone, and if you’ve ever seen them around town, you know what powerhouses they are.  All three of them deftly swap characters with the change of a coat or drape or hat. And all three do it so naturally and in such a conversational way as to match the conceit of the show that they’re telling the story to each other because of … nah, I don’t want to give that bit away.  But it floored me once I knew.  And don’t think you’re limited to one Scrooge.  All three of them get their turn at the old curmudgeon to brilliant effect.

Review: FELLOW PASSENGERS from Strawberry Theatre Workshop
Galen Joseph Osier and Shermona Mitchell
in Fellow Passengers from
Strawberry Theatre Workshop.
Photo credit: John Ulman

Beyond the outstanding performances there’s the set and direction from Carter and Rhonda J Soikowski. The scenic design is not a Victorian drawing room or recreation of the streets of London.  No, we’re in the basement of an average home.  Boxes of mementos and sporting equipment.  Leftover lumber and assorted power cords.  And a large washing machine and assorted laundry over in the corner.  And the three actors use all these found objects to tell the story is truly thrilling ways.  The Ghost of Christmas Past is a lantern.  Tiny Tim is a stool.  And that Ghost of Christmas Future is a … nope, not giving that one away either.  Suffice to say this seemingly random collection of items are all there for a reason.  And it works perfectly.  Oh, and I must mention the seen but unseen performer in the back corner, as Ayako Okono provides a fantastic otherworldly underscoring that enhances the show beautifully.

This is not the first time they’ve done this one.  It was originally done back in 2004, and it was even supposed to be done this year by the, sadly, now absent Book-It Theatre.  But they were already getting prepped for it and so when they closed, Strawberry Theatre Workshop managed to pick the production up and I’m so glad they did.  The level of solid and stunning storytelling up on that stage reminds me why I love theater.  This is a must see!  And so, with my three-letter rating system, I give Strawberry Theatre Workshop’s production of “Fellow Passengers” a shaken, exhilarated, and moved to tears WOW.  So, whether you want a tried and true “Christmas Carol”, or a lone local treasure for the evening, or even an exciting different kind of retelling, we’ve got you covered.

“Fellow Passengers” from Strawberry Theatre Workshop performs at 12th Avenue Arts through December 23rd.  For tickets or information visit them online at www.strawshop.org.

The one man “A Christmas Carol” starring Allen Fitzpatrick is playing various locations around the area through December 17th.  For tickets or information visit him online at https://allenfitzpatrick.weebly.com/recent-news--reviews.html.

The ACT “A Christmas Carol” performs at ACT through December 24th.  For tickets or information visit them online at www.acttheatre.org.




Videos