A Christmas Carol
For the 35th year, Trinity Repertory Company's "A Christmas Carol" shows that it is not just another holiday play, it's a tradition. Once again, the magic tapestry of music, audience interaction and special effects is weaved effortlessly into one entertaining show.
The play opens with our "Reader" (Tom Gleadow) and a host of young, tattered children shining the shoes of our audience members. The narrator collects the children (and the money they've made) to the stage to tells us the story of Christmas, ghosts, and a "little bit of kissing." And we're off.
Scrooge (Timothy Crowe) and Marley's (Stephen Thorne) money-changing business is booming until Marley becomes ill and passes on. Scrooge could care less, and it is the beginning of his troubles that will come to a head seven Christmases later.
The production features classic carols and original music by Richard Cumming but is not a musical. The songs are short and quite effective here; musical director Darren Server uses each song and carol to enhance the scenes and deliver a dramatic point.
After we are visited by Marley's ghost, we are introduced to the three spirits in turn; Christmas Past (Mia Ellis), Present (Benjamin Thornton, Daniel Duque-Estrada, and Joe Wilson, Jr.) who is meant to age as the night wears on, and Future (Leicester Landon) draped in ghostly black wrappings.
Crowe is a delight, having played this character several times before but brings a sense of tragedy and sadness to his role, making the redemption of Scrooge all the more effective. The supporting cast are strong in multiple roles, most notably Bob Cratchit (Mauro Hantman) his wife (Rachel Warren) and Fred, Scrooge's nephew (Leicester Landon).
Tyler Dobrowsky's direction is tight and well-paced; there are moments when the action is off stage and in the audience and flows quite well.
Eugene Lee's set design is quite simplistic but coveys the period nicely, and Alison Walker Carrier's costumes are very much in keeping with Old World England.
The production runs without intermission, but at about a 90-minute running time, it is perfect holiday entertainment for all ages.
"A Christmas Carol" runs through Dec. 29 at Trinity Repertory Company, 201 Washington Street, Providence. For info and tickets, call 401-351-4212 or visit www.trinityrep.com.