A Christmas Carol
By Charles Dickens
Adapted by Michael Wilson
Directed by Craig A. Miller
Choreography by Jacinta Gorringe
For tickets & schedule:
6th Street Playhouse
Santa Rosa, CA
November 25 – December 23, 2016
RATING: 5 of 5 stars
(November 25, 2016)
A Christmas Carol is the beloved tale of rekindling childhood joy that has been weighed down by survival in the harsh world of what millennials refer to as ‘adulting’. In a whirlwind of paying bills and furthering his career, Ebenezer Scrooge (Charles Siebert) loses his first love and drowns himself in a self-constructed prison of bitterness. Siebert’s crotchety antics possess glimmers of comedy in between shaking down an innocent doll vendor (Jessica Headington) and a Jules Verne inspired clockmaker (Ryan Severt). Townspeople scatter in terror at Scrooge’s name, until he transforms into a giddy philanthropist eager to spread the Christmas spirit, inviting them in for turkey and festivities.
Director Craig A. Miller has created a tightly oiled flow between scenes—what might be awkward transitions of moving furniture become delightful choral moments of caroling, and the play moves at a fast enough pace to keep the younger members of the audience enthralled. Scattered through the props, projections, Jesse Dreikosen’s splendid Steampunk set design, and Pat Fitzgerald’s costumes, are clock gears and an impending sense of time being the story’s true author. The Spirits arrive through a dramatic fog laced clock face swinging open, immediately making an impression and dominating the stage.
Headington’s Ghost of Christmas Past is an ethereal dancer wafting through scenes while scattering magical snow to reveal secrets that Scrooge has forgotten. Robert Finney arrives as the Ghost of Christmas Present, bringing revelry and merriment in his wake, convincing Scrooge how wrong he was to pass judgment so harshly on his family and those less fortunate who can cannot afford a proper Christmas dinner. George’s costume for the Ghost of Christmas Future (Severt) is alarming in its dark simplicity. Miller and John Gromada’s sound design for the future, with grinding gears and unnerving screeches, adds to the haunting nature of the spirit’s message.
The Cratchit family is A Christmas Carol’s heart, with an outstanding performance by Jeff Cote as the father, who realistically shivers in a freezing office and is overcome with pride upon seeing his family gathered to greet him. In the dual roles of Belle and Fred’s Wife, Crystal Carpenter turns what can be an uninteresting flashback to a moving scene of tragic love when she bids farewell to a younger Scrooge (Stefan Wenger). The two solicitors (Dwayne Stincelli and Tice Allison) are a lively comedy duo throughout the play—aghast that Scrooge would refuse their charity cause, and eager for a proper lunch at his funeral.
A Christmas Carol at 6th Street Playhouse is a charming holiday play for the whole family, with memorable set design and an engaging cast. If you are looking for a merry way to start the season, come to Railroad Square for a heartwarming production of holiday cheer.