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BWW Review: A CHRISTMAS CAROL at The Repertory Theatre Of St. Louis

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The Rep Rings In the Holidays with An Energetic Twist on Dickens

BWW Review: A CHRISTMAS CAROL at The Repertory Theatre Of St. Louis

While there have been hundreds of adaptations of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, few of them have had the energy and contemporary flair of Hana Sharif's revised production currently onstage at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis.

In many ways, the arrival of The Rep's A Christmas Carol could not be better timed. Its themes of overcoming isolation and cynicism, reflecting on the past, and looking to the future resonate louder as the world shakes itself from the pandemic. Filled with optimism, hope, and redemption, A Christmas Carol has leitmotifs that remain relevant.

While the story of Ebenezer Scrooge's transfiguration remains all too familiar, this production uses projections, contemporary dance, and uplifting choral music to reinvigorate the holiday classic. Director Hana Sharif has taken the kindness, compassion, and curmudgeonly temperament of A Christmas Carol and given it a soul. Under Sharif, the journey of London's infamous miser is more polished, making it less stodgy and funkier for contemporary audiences.

Debuting with the company, Guiesseppe Jones is magnetic as Scrooge. Doubling down early as the grumpy skinflint, he picks up the tempo in the second act by swinging the pendulum the other way as Scrooge encounters his nighttime visitors. As a result, Scrooge's transformation to a more joyous and enlightened soul is more enjoyable as the drama winds down.

The rest of the ensemble is terrific. Armando McClain shines as the ever-optimistic Bob Cratchit. St. Louis stage veteran Michelle Hand is also exceptional as the pragmatic Mrs. Cratchit. Michael James Reed pulls double duty, providing laughs as the outlandish Mrs. Dilber and fright as the Jacob Marley.

Now an annual holiday tradition, the Rep's production of A Christmas Carol maintains the essence of Dickens' classic while sprucing it up with kinetic dancing, a downtempo beat and a peek into the future with 20 youth performers trained at COCA. Well-paced, exuberant, and finely-acted it is guaranteed to shake off the holiday blues.

A Christmas Carol plays at the Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts through December 23rd. For showtimes and more information, visit http://www.repstl.org


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