Review: A CHRISTMAS CAROL at The Premiere Playhouse

A Christmas Carol by Crispin Whittell runs through December 30.

By: Dec. 18, 2022
Review: A CHRISTMAS CAROL at The Premiere Playhouse
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The opening performance of A CHRISTMAS CAROL was a triumphant reprise of the Crispin Whittell script presented last year at The Premiere Playhouse in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The production, directed once again by Lary B. Etten was a much more polished show in its second year with many of the technical aspects of this production taking the whole performance up a notch. Lighting and sound effects were executed with great precision and the frequent scene changes were made pleasurable for the audience with some masterful compositions and arrangements of music by the Composer/ Arranger / Music Director Matthew Walicke. Vocal work in this production was very well done and the caroling group was very nicely balanced.

A huge part of the success of this production lies in the herculean performance of Mr. Tom Roberts who absolutely and undeniably embodies the character of Ebenezer Scrooge in this play. This is his second season of playing the seminal role and he most certainly delivers the goods as the miserly curmudgeon who transforms at the end into the best spokesperson for the spirit of the holiday season. His closing lines in the final scenes are poetic, emotionally bouyant and thoughtfully delivered. Kudos to The Premiere Playhouse in securing his commitment to perform in this year's show again because he is truly a treasure in this production.

It is with great pleasure that we have the return performances of Bart Workman as Bob Cratchit, Christian Heiberger as Peter Cratchit, Jon Buchanan as Fred Scrooge, Rick Weiland as the Ghost of Jacob Marley, and Phil Kappen as Mr. Sykes. This group of actors is integral in the success and continuity of this production. Bart Workman brings an energy and spirit to the character of Bob Cratchit that makes an endearing, sometimes comic and ultimately emotionally relevant characterization come to life. I have to admit that my impressions of Bob Cratchit have never really inspired me as much as the characterization that Mr. Workman gleans from this part. Jon Buchanan as Fred Scrooge is flawless in his polar-opposite personality portrayal to his uncle Scrooge and exudes joy and jovial mischief onstage. Phil Kappen as Mr. Sykes is adept at the comedic aspects of the character in his portrayal of the drunkard schoolmaster Mr. Sykes.

The ensemble cast of this production is of the highest quality and the story of A CHRISTMAS CAROL is brought to life with precision and professionalism. Audiences will be pleased to experience the mastery of Terry Zerfas as the housekeeper, Merriweather, Jake Cox as Mr. Fezziwig and Jackson Heiberger as young Scrooge. The Fezziwig daughters are delightful in their choreographed dances and the children in the school scene are spot on in their comedic timing for group responses. The whole Cratchit family oozes love and light and will tug at your heartstrings with their emotional connection. I especially enjoyed the performances of J.A. Murphy's portrayal of Old Joe, Terry Zerfas as Merriweather and Rose Rhead as Mrs. Dilber as they hock The Remains of Scrooge's paltry life in a scene of Christmas yet to come.

This is a production with magic and poetic mastery in the telling of the classic Charles Dickens tale of discovery of the true meaning of the season. Get your tickets now for the best show of the holiday season. A CHRISTMAS CAROL plays December 17- 30, with matinees and evening performances.