Thursday, December 12, 2013

Play Review - A Christmas Carol at Glendale Centre Theatre

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Classic story retold so well
Cons: Cons?  Bah!  Humbug!
The Bottom Line:
Classic Christmas tale
Is brilliantly brought to life
In way all will like

Classic Story Comes to Life Like Never Before

A Christmas Carol is a staple of Christmastime.  Many movies have been made and many theater companies put it on over the years.  Glendale Centre Theatre puts it on every year (this is their 47th year in a row, in fact).  I saw it and enjoyed it last year, but I enjoyed it even more this year.

If you happen to not be familiar with the story, it centers on Ebenezer Scrooge, a mean old miser with no friends who just loves his money.  One Christmas Eve, he finds himself visited by a series of spirits who attempt to show him the error of his ways.  Will he repent?

At this point, there have been so many versions it’s almost impossible to point out changes from Charles Dickens’s original book.  There are some in this play as well, but that’s a minor issue.  The important thing is if you enjoy the story along the way.

The answer for me was a resounding yes.  This theater company always puts on a good show, and that tradition continues here.  Some of the actors are playing parts they’ve done in years past, and their familiarity with the characters makes things seem more real.  Even though I know the plot points, I was still moved by them as they came up – the actors were that committed.

It certainly helps that this is a theater in the round, meaning the action takes place directly in front of you.  It’s so easy to get lost in the story since even in the middle of a section (where I usually sit) it feels like you are right there.  The tiers are high enough that you don’t have to worry about someone sitting in front of you blocking your view.

One thing that really adds to this production is the music.  There are a couple of original songs, but most of the time they use older Christmas carols.  The supporting players will sing acappella, and they blend so beautifully together.  They often use these songs as a distraction while they are changing the set, but it also helps keep the mood right and adds to the experience.

If you are at all within a reasonable distance, make a point of seeing A Christmas Carol at Glendale Centre Theatre – if not this year than next year.  You are in for two hours of great entertainment that is well worth the price.

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