Theatre Mirror Reviews - "CAROL'S CHRISTMAS"

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Note: Entire Contents Copyright 2016 by Tony Annicone



”CAROL'S CHRISTMAS”

Reviewed by Tony Annicone


Radioactive Theatre Company's Christmas show at the Arctic Playhouse is "Carol's Christmas", an original play by Shannon McLoud. This fiction about the creation of "A Christmas Carol", follows the Narrator forcing her employee Carol to help out Charles Dickens' writer's block. As Carol attempts to cure this man, whom she keeps calling Chuck better known as Charles Dickens of holiday writer's block. Carol tells him that he has to face the spectors of his past life, the present and the future and in the process confronts the ghosts in his closet. When he was a little boy with his family, his contemporaries who put down his writing and the future where no one understands the true meaning of Christmas because his story has never been written. He needs to write this story and as he writes it, he's visited by Carol, a ghost. She shows him in past his love of writing, in the present reminds him how he should start writing and in the future shows him what would happen if the story was never written. The world gone to hell in a hand basket. In Act 2 you see him write "A Christmas Carol", and starts with the real Dickens novel inserted in. Director Dave McLoud picks some 35 topnotch performers to play these various roles and infuses them with the energy to entertain the entire audience from start to finish.

Shannon commands the stage as the Narrator. Her script is very funny and witty. It is a clever bash at Dickens and his well known tale but this caustic and ribald comedy leaves you laughing merrily. You enjoy many carols throughout the first act especially as she yells "Oh, look Christmas Carolers" and they enter singing joyfully. Jennifer Mensel is the music director, leads the carolers wonderfully and also play Jane Marley in the real story, scaring the crap out of Scrooge. Shannon's relationship with her delinquent, employee Carol, who is well played by Kathleen Seagriff. Her sarcastic lines are hilarious as she mocks Dickens, the Narrator, the carolers and Christmas itself until she learns the true meaning by the end of the show. Shannon and Kathleen have clever lines in the first act and they have some funny comments during the second act to lighten things up.

Tom Morey is brilliant as Charles Dickens. He is onstage almost the whole show. Tom runs the gamut of emotions in this role. Bill Pett does a nice turn as a grumpy Theodore Martin in Act 1 who is a nemesis of Dickens. He then transforms himself into the well known miser in Act 2. Dickens father is played by Bob Werbecki who then becomes Bob Cratchit. The three ghosts are well played by Jillian Govoni as Christmas Past, she does a great version of "Blue Christmas" in Act 1, Caitlin Robert as Christmas Present who gets to yell "Are there no prisons, are there no workhouses" to wake Scrooge out of his stupor and the very scary Ghost of the Future played by Don Shurtleff. One of the cutest ones is Lily Werbecki as Tiny Tim. She captures the hearts of the audience at her earnest portrayal. Kudos to the carolers on their strong singing voice. Also a word of praise to Shannon for making the audience look at how this show really ushers in the Christmas season in this new tongue in cheek original play of hers. It is truly a family friendly show and the totally sold out audience gave it a standing ovation. You also get free cookies at every performance. So for a new spin on this old chestnut of a show, be sure to catch "Carol's Christmas" before time runs out at the Arctic Playhouse. You will laugh merrily all night long.

CAROL'S CHRISTMAS (26 November to 10 December)
Radioactive Theatre Company, The Arctic Playhouse, 117 Washington St, West Warwick, RI
1(401)573-3443 or www.thearcticplayhouse.com




THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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