Theatre Mirror Reviews - "A Christmas Carol"

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A Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens'
A Christmas Carol
The Musical

Adapted and Directed by Beth Jepson

Production Staff
Executive Producer - David Jepson
Stage Manager - Eric Crosby
Musical Director - Scott Morency
Choreography - Jennifer Gillis
Lights and Sound - Kyle Peltier
Set Design - David Jepson
Set Construction - Kyle Peltier, Michael Shurtleff, Eric Crosby, Scott Morency, John Staniunas
Set Decoration - Ernest Medeiros
Follow Spot - Michael Shurtleff
Properties - Kathy Shurtleff
Costumes - Beth Jepson, Pat Plante, Edith Fatigato
Hair Stylist - Jason Palin
Box Office - Bruce W. Lackey

Cast
Ebenezer Scrooge - Mark Anderson
Harry The Gravedigger - Ralph Bruno
2nd Gravedigger - Bruce W. Lackey
Ghost of Jacob Marley - Lawrence Jamison
Bob Cratchit - Eric Crosby
Tiny Tim - Patrick Saunders
Martha Cratchit - Sara Parmentier
1st Almsman - John Baxter
2nd Almsman - Norm Hassinger
Woman on the Street - Joanna Cahill
Man on the Street - Jason Palin
William Soames - Robert Gruslin, jr.
Ghost of Christmas Past - Lauren Turnbull
Boy Scrooge - Nathan Lavigne
Fan - Sara Parmentier
Dick Wilkins - Ralph Bruno
Young Scrooge - Phil Leboeuf
Mr. Fezziwig - Jason Palin
Belle - Shannon Davies
Mrs. Fezziwig - Rebecca jane Morse
Topper - Jason Palin
Helen - Shannon Davies
Vera - Joanna Cahill
George - Phil LeBoeuf
Mrs. Cratchit - Brenda Trapani
Peter Cratchit - Hathan Laving
Belinda Cratchit - Lauren Turnbull
Ghost of Christmas Future - Robert Gruslin, Jr.
Will Jenkins - Bruce W. lackey
Mrs. Dilber - Shannon Davies
Old Joe - Norm Hassinger
Matthew - Nathan Lavigne
Poulterer - Phil LeBoeuf

City Nights Dinner Theatre's current production of "A Christmas Carol" is truly a pleasurable night out. If your not into the Christmas spirit, you will be about 5 minutes after the show starts. This cast does double duty in many roles, as there are 37 characters in this production, and only about 21 in the cast. It is not an easy task, but Beth Jepson has created and maintained the high standards which she is known for as a director, and has given a wonderful gift to any audience that comes to see this production.

The story, as many of you probably could recite backwards, is about Scrooge (Mark Anderson), who is in love with his money , and as a miser, could care less about Christmas, or its meaning. Mark Anderson has done a magnificent job playing the old miser, and really keeps your attention, as his mannerisms are quite funny. His on-stage time is quite heavy, so he has to perform. And perform he does!!. I was quite pleased with his performance, as was the audience. Mark said after the show, that he enjoyed the role, and it sure was evident. That's what I like--an actor who likes the part he got cast in!!!!

The second banana, in my opinion, was The Ghost of Jacob Marley ably played by Lawrence "Will" Jamison who I understand was born in England, and is a graduate of the British American Drama Academy , UK. Lawrence was very sinister( as the role calls for), but I think what I liked the most about him, was his makeup and his voice. He really kept you on your toes---as you never knew when he was suddenly going to appear. Very effect acting and stage presence made this Ghost - just a bit different. Nice touch!

Jared Skowron played Bob Cratchit, Scrooge's employee. His son, Tiny Tim (Patrick Saunders - the company's tiniest Tim ever!) and his family, were especially effective in the Christmas scene when Scrooge finally comes around to give them a Christmas gift. The Cratchit's (Brenda Trapani, David Shurtleff, Nathan Lavigne, Lauren Turnbull, and Sara Parmentier ) are delightful as a family, and give the audience that homey feeling about the holidays and family unity.

The Ghost of Christmas Past played by 11 year old Lauren Turnbull presented the audience with an incredibly professional performance is some of her scenes. She has a nice voice and the songs that she sung - she belted them out without losing the flavor of the song. Her acting ability was commendable.

The Ghost of Christmas Present was played by veteran actor John Baxter, who I have seen many times in other theater productions. As The Ghost , in this presentation, he excelled and gave the audience the ability to relate to his dialogue.

Robert Gruslin, Jr. played the Ghost of Christmas Future which is not a role everyone would like to do, because you are covered up and just walk around , like a shadowy scary figure. But Bob's best scenes were probably in the ensemble, with the Christmas carolers. He is also, an excellent stage manager.

Shannon Davies played three roles in this production, Belle, Helen, and Mrs. Dilber. I especially liked her performance as Scrooges' housekeeper, but she excelled in her role as Belle, Scrooge's former girlfriend. Her trained voice was so pleasant and her acting was quite extraordinary for a 16 year old high school junior. She should keep up her acting and singing and may surely have a career going for her.

Norm Hassinger (last seen in West Side Story as Lt. Schrank) played Almsman/Old Joe, and I think that Norm is just so much fun to watch. He's clever on stage, and his presence in this production was just so much fun - especially watching Norm dance (not bad for someone who never had lessons!!). But the best part was just his interactions and expressions. Great fun, Norm!

Eric Crosby played Fred and added some light touches to an otherwise dark production in some scenes. His stage presence was always welcome because he seemed to be always happy and giving. A welcome relief from the rest of the story...nice job Eric!.

Mrs. Fezziwig played by Rebecca Jane Morse (last seen as one of the pink ladies in Grease) has graced the stage again with another Greaser - Jason Palin , as Mr. Fezziwig. Quite different roles in this show from the cast of Grease!!!!

The ensemble (Ralph Bruno, Joanna Cahill, Jason Palin, Phil Lebouef, Sara Parmentier, Shannon Davies, Brenda Trapani, Robert Gruslin) did justice to the singing of Christmas carols, and the party scene.

The walk on/short scenes are important in this production too and were ably played by Ralph Bruno, Bruce W. Lackey, Norm Hassinger, Joanna Cahill, Jason Palin, Nathan Lavigne and Phil LeBoeuf.

Musical director, Scott Morency has once again created a holiday spirit with his musical ability and the cast seemed to be at ease with the songs. Choreography by my daughter-in-law (Jennifer Gillis) was---well, what can I say that won't sound like bragging....it was excellent.!

So folks, if you are still looking for that special gift( for yourself) or someone for Christmas--why not go and see this wonderful production of "A Christmas Carol". It plays until December 20th.

" A Christmas Carol " ( till 20 December)
CITY NIGHTS DINNERE THEATRE
27 Exchange Street, PAWTUCKET, RHODE ISLAND
1 (401) 726-6060
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