‘A Christmas Carol’ explores greed and change in first performance in 10 years

December 05, 2016

Anne Stewart

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     Blizzards, finals and shopping for presents – it’s enough to make you shout “Bah, Humbug!”

     But in the midst of the winter chaos, we should remember good tidings and cheer, which is what TheatreWorks sought to do in their first performance of “A Christmas Carol.”

     Charles’s Dickens’s classic tale will be performed through Dec. 24 at The Dusty Loo Bon Vivant Theatre.

     Murray Ross, artistic director at TheatreWorks, welcomed the moderately-sized, preview-night audience to the first performance of the play by the organization in 10 years.

     The show started with dim lighting, candles and shadows that created a wintry atmosphere and invited the audience in.

     The story was narrated at the start of the show to set the time and place.

     The ensemble cast, who took on the roles of characters and narrators, explained the story of Ebenezer Scrooge (William Metzo), a mean-spirited miser that is warned by three ghosts to give back to the poor so that he’s not bound by his greed in the afterlife.

     Each cast member portrayed their character with conviction; even the ghost of Bob Marley (Steve Wallace) was entertainingly disheveled and perfectly tortured. Marley’s wild white hair and spectacles added humor and life to the show.

     Metzo’s portrayal of Scrooge captivated the audience. In the beginning, Metzo established himself as a cranky old man who had no time for happiness; not even a merry smirk toward his loyal employee, Bob Cratchit (Michael Lee), the nervous, kind man.

     Metzo’s transformation of character was believable as he progressed from a man hardened by materialism to a man that sought to give. The transformation relieved all tension that built up to the show’s emotional climax.

     The interactions between the actors were focused and energized; the actors delivered their lines in a way that cued one another to carry the story forward.

     This task was well-executed with only a couple lines that paused too long. The story’s pace was appropriate and kept the audience engaged.

     The actors also interacted with audience members that sat in the front row, which added a light-hearted and friendly touch. The setting was intimate no matter what seat you were in.

     The set established place with its simple props and lighting. The lighting established the show’s tone, but was sometimes too dim. Seeing each of the actors’ expressions during their line delivery would have enhanced the show.

     Certain aspects were lost due to poor vision.

     With the cast’s excellent chemistry and simple set, the show was light and heartwarming. An array of emotions, including bitterness, sweetness and the heaviness of realization, prompted the audience with thoughts of the future.

     With an inspirational message that it really never is too late to change, this show is a good choice to get your fix of holiday cheer.

The Lowdown:

What: ‘A Christmas Carol’

Where: Dusty Loo Bon Vivant Theatre

When: Through Dec. 24

Wednesday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday Matinee, Dec. 10, 17 and 24 at 2 p.m.

Sundays at 4 p.m.

Cost: Free ticket reservations for students