Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Audio Review: A Christmas Carol with Patrick Stewart

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: You'll be glued to the speakers for the entire two hours
Cons: None
The Bottom Line:
Four Christmas spirits
All performed by just one man
Wonderful recording

Spellbinding Performance

During the 90's, Patrick Stewart did a one man stage show of A Christmas Carol on stage every year. Unfortunately, I missed it. Fortunately, I decided to give the taped version a listen. After borrowing it several times from my local library, I bought my own copy to listen to every year.

Of course, these tapes follow the familiar story of Christmas hating Ebenezer Scrooge. Scrooge is a miser who hoards every penny and under pays his one employee, Bob Cratchit. One Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his dead partner who warns Scrooge about three more ghostly appearances. Can the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future redeem his stone cold soul?

Mr. Stewart does an outstanding job of bringing all the characters to life. Only a couple times in the two hours do I get even a little lost as to who is saying which line, and then it's only for a few seconds. The combination of Dicken's words and Stewart's dramatization brings every character and description to vivid life. And it is just Stewart's dramatization of the story. There is no music or sound effects to future enhance the story. But it draws you in so much you hardly notice.

It should be noted that this is an adaptation of the book. Some scenes have been cut, and other added for this recording. For example, during the Ghost of Christmas Present, we hardly visit Scrooges nephew Fred and do visit several random characters I don't remember from the book. That doesn't interfere with my enjoyment, however, and I doubt that it will bother anyone else. I spend the two hours hanging on every word. It's over all too soon.

I've listened to this performance on both tape and CD. Both are good, but the CD has one drawback. They don't have any chapter breaks at all. This can make it a little difficult to listen to in sections, but since I normally listen on long car rides, that doesn't bother me.

Patrick Stewart's version of A Christmas Carol has become a Christmas tradition I look forward to every year. Give it a try, and you will be captivated by it as well.

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