Theatre Three: Broadway on Main Street opened its 33rd annual production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Written in 1843, A Christmas Carol is a story which has endured throughout the years. It has been retold many times in text and film, and is filled with themes which are still relevant today. There is a danger in retelling a story this well-known, as the audience knows what to expect next, but there is no boredom in this version.
Cleverly adapted and directed by Jeffrey E. Sanzel, this performance is filled with humor from dry wit to good fun, sweet family moments and scary ghostly appearances which keep the tale moving. Once again Theatre Three’s interpretation does not leave the audience wanting.
The sets, by Randall Parsons, were well done and added to the story telling. While in Scrooge’s office, a bridge in the background displayed characters coming and going, two side balconies had characters moving and speaking at other times, and the sets changed location with ease as the story continued.
Randall Parsons and the late Bonnie Vidal were responsible for the wonderful period costumes which helped create character and set tone. Many of the actors portrayed different characters, a task well done, and skillfully aided by the changes in costume.
Jeffrey Sanzel’s portrayal of Scrooge was excellent. When visiting the past he seamlessly changes from the younger Ebenezer to the older Scrooge. While there is a musical chime to highlight the change, his body language and demeanor change with the character. As he views the scenes shown to him by the ghosts, he starts to soften, then snaps right back to the hard-hearted Scrooge when questioned.
Jessica Contino was both assertive as The Ghost of Christmas Past as she took Scrooge back to look at his beginnings, and sweet and kind as Fred’s young wife.
Bobby Mantaniz, as The Ghost of Christmas Present, was boisterous and mischievous He brought high energy to his scenes with infectious laughter as he teased and mimicked Scrooge, mocking him with his own words, yet displayed impressive ire when angered. A true highlight of the show.
Steven Uihlein’s Marley was intensely unsettling as he forcefully expressed his frustration while warning Scrooge to not follow his path.
Dylan Robert Poulos’ Fred is alternately joyful and melancholic as he reveals his exasperation and sadness with his uncle as his overtures are continually rejected.
Douglas J. Quattrock played the meek and long-suffering Bob Cratchit effortlessly. Balancing his love for his family with the unjustness of his situation, he made the patient clerk a truly likeable character.
The first act culminated in a notable business scene in Scrooge’s office. This busy scene powerfully epitomized the theme of greed. Other highlights include Marley’s (Steven Uihlein) dramatic entrance, the jolly banter between Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig (George Liberman and Ginger Dalton), and the chilling appearance of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (Dylan Robert Poulous).
This A Christmas Carol has laughter, chills and sentiment. The Christmas spirit is certainly present as carols are sung throughout the play. From scary ghosts to Tiny Tim’s “God bless us, everyone!” this wonderful interpretation is sure to be a terrific addition to your holidays.
Also, be sure to arrive early to delight in the cast, in full costume, while they regale you with some wonderful Christmas caroling!
Running Time: Two hours, with a 15-minute intermission.
Advisory: Strobe lighting, and some startling/scary moments.
A Christmas Carol plays through December 30, 2016 at Theatre Three: Broadway on Main Street – 412 Main Street, in Port Jefferson, NY. For tickets, call the box office at (631) 928-9100, or purchase them online.