Theatre Mirror Reviews - "A Christmas Carol"

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note: entire contents copyright 2009 by Beverly Creasey

Joyful Abundance

Reviewed by Beverly Creasey

I know. You’re thinking of all the un-run errands and unwrapped presents ahead of you and the last thing you want to hear is someone telling you to see A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Well, here I am to do the telling. Do take the time to experience New Repertory Theatre’s luminous production of Dickens’ timeless gift to humankind. Your spirit will be lightened and your burdens lifted. Your faith in your fellow man will be renewed and you’ll be welcoming the holidays.

Director Bridget Kathleen O’Leary’s delightful take on Rick Lombardo’s lovely adaptation plays through December 27th, including 10 A.M. student matinees. Paul Farwell is the quintessential Scrooge. No Ebenezer (including the film versions!) has ever had a transformation more joyous. In addition to a cast full of topnotch performers who accompany themselves (and supply sounds effects) with every instrument imaginable, O’Leary has tweaked some of the traditional details to surprisingly delicious effect (like Fezziwig’s amusing reward for his apprentices).Best of all, O’Leary has solved the amplification conundrum of past performances. Now you clearly hear each ghostly warning, be it Marley’s offer of “a glimpse of the invisible world” or the gentle chiding of the Ghost of Christmas Past.

Wonderful performances abound: From Farwell’s curmudgeonly Scrooge to Peter Edmund Haydu’s formidable Marley, (whose idea it is to reclaim Scrooge) From Edward M. Barker’s good hearted Cratchit to Dawn Tucker’s spunky Mrs. Crachit; From Brooke Hardman’s stunning Ghost to William Gardiner’s fun loving Fezziwig; Each character is fully drawn and lovingly played. Kudos, too, for Peter Colao’s ingenious, evocative set, for Anna Lackaff’s gorgeous Olde English carols, for Ilyse Robbins’ infectious reel and for Christine Alger’s charming costumes. Don’t miss it.

"A Christmas Carol" (6 - 27 December)
Arsenal Center for the Arts, 321 Arsenal Street, WATERTOWN MA
1 (617-923-8487

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide