Theatre Mirror Reviews - "A Christmas Carol"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2010 by Tony Annicone

"A Christmas Carol"
Attleboro Community Theatre"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

Attleboro Community Theatre's current holiday family show based on the Dickens classic , "A Christmas Carol" is back , the timeless story of how Ebenezer Scrooge comes to appreciate the true meaning of Christmas by being visited by three spirits who show him the errors of his ways. Director Barbara McCarthy makes her version fresh and new, infusing it with many energetic performances and obtains a stunning performance by leading man, Bruce Church. She dedicates this show in the memory of her mother, Lola Crowell who passed away on April 6, 2010. Her mother was a devotee of Dickens and she introduced her to this magical tale which Barbara listened to on the radio with Lionel Barrymore playing Scrooge. This show softens the hearts of all the real life Scrooges in the crowd.

Barbara's cast ranges from tiny tots to the older generation. She mixes the comic and dramatic elements of this tale beautifully. Barbara opens the show with orphans looking at toys in the toy shop and Scrooge stomps on a candy cane given to him by the Toy Seller. The orphans become carolers singing God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and an impressive moment comes when twins Uatchet and Nekhebet Juch sing Silent Night while Hannah Proulx signs it for the audience before the start of Act 2. Her assistant director Valerie Coogan keeps things running smoothly during the performance. Bruce commands the stage as Scrooge. He is scary and tyrannical at the start of the show but his experiences with the three ghosts help to transform him into a kinder, nicer man by the end of the show. His comic moments include yelling at Fred, Bob Cratchitt, the missionaries and carolers to shut up and that he hates orphans but it is the pathos in Fan's death, the break up with Belle, the death of Tiny Tim and the transformation scene that make you witness the dramatic essence of this curmudgeon perfectly. Bravo. Ed Hyman is a very energetic and dynamic actor who does triple duty in this version playing Jacob Marley who scares the crowd with his chains and crawls through a fireplace on his first entrance with a smoke machine providing the spookiness it needs. He also plays the jovial and larger than life Christmas Present who shows Scrooge the errors of his ways as well as sly Old Joe in the counting house scene. Christmas Past is played beautifully by Amanda Flicop who shows Scrooge the scenes with Fan, the Fezziwigs and Belle. Although she is a young girl, she speaks with a strong voice in her scenes.

One of the most heartfelt performances in this show is by Bret Palmer as Bob Cratchitt. His acting shines in the death of Tiny Tim scene as he breaks down in tears, moving the audience to tears while doing so. The Cratchitt Family is well played by Chrissa Bennett as Mrs. Cratchitt who has a funny scene dropping the goose and the other children are played by Hannah Proulx, Jameson Allessandro who is also boy Scrooge, Kayla Chuk and Isabelle Eaton. Kaitlyn Bouchard is Tiny Tim and tugs at your heartstrings as she utters God bless us everyone at the close of the show. She and Hannah show off their singing voices in O Come All Ye Faithful. The Ghost of the Future is played by Rachel Rennie who shows Scrooge several scenes in the future. However the comic one at the counting house stands out. The biggest scene stealers are JoAnn Vaughn, Kim Alessandro and Jeanne Smith who sell Scrooge's goods in the future segment. Their antics are priceless as they pawn his linens, silverware and red flannel pajamas. Kudos to all the cast members of this joyous show. Barbara's rendition is superb and it shows how to celebrate the holiday season by caring for your fellow man during this time of year.

"A Christmas Carol" (3 - 19 December)
ATTLEBORO COMMUNITY THEATRE
@ 71 North Main Street, ATTLEBORO MA
1 (508)226-8100

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