Review: ‘A Christmas Carol’ at Kensington Arts Theatre

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Reviewed by Meredith Fogle

Prepare to be swept into the holiday spirit alongside Ebenezer Scrooge by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future in Kensington Arts Theatre’s production of A Christmas Carol, presented in partnership with Arts on the Green and directed by Jordan Clifford.

A troupe of carolers garbed in velvet capes and woolen cloaks opens the show and, along with talented musicians, provides a picturesque backdrop effectively setting the mood of each scene and infusing the story with the holiday spirit through performances of traditional Christmas standards.

Prepare to be swept into the holiday spirit!

Dino Coppa is fantastic as delightfully curmudgeonly Ebenezer Scrooge alongside an energetic and enjoyable cast, including Chris Penick, who gives a moving performance as Bob Cratchit, Kyle Sprankle, gregarious as Fred (and Young Man Scrooge), Heather Andrews, who provides angelic guidance as the Ghost of Christmas Past and Mrs. Cratchit, and Miriam Bowden, who joyfully delivers sobering news as the Ghost of Christmas Present (she also plays a Gentlewoman).

As Scrooge is ushered into the spirit world by Marley’s Ghost, forbiddingly frightening as played by Bob Gudauskas, a centerpiece clock casts an eerie glow over the creatively minimalistic set, which the actors transition from scene to scene with a seamless choreography. The hands of the clock fly forward when directed by the chilling gestures of the Ghost of Christmas Future, played by Shomari Fortson (who also plays Dick Wilkins), freeze, or disappear as Scrooge watches his past and future play out before him in vignettes at a Christmas party hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig (Peter Wolff and Joy Gerst bringing a jubilant levity to the roles), the Cratchit household, and the home of Scrooge’s nephew, Fred, and his lovely if acerbic wife, played by Jennifer Feuerbach.

The cast, many who also play multiple roles including carolers or musicians, is rounded out by a lively group of young actors playing the Cratchit Children (Julia Feller as Martha Cratchit, Bella Gilmore as Belinda Cratchit, Nate Kauffman as Peter Cratchit, Katie Musick as Ned Cratchit, and Samantha Penick as Dorritt Cratchit), Boy Scrooge (Helena Latiri), villagers and party guests (Samantha Kotok, Ellie Helgeson, Isabella Larson, and Jennifer Feuerbach). Tiny Tim, played by the adorable Henry Penick, delivers the show’s famous final line with a poignant simplicity, leaving the audience, like Scrooge, transported, and filled with true spirit of Christmas.

Running Time: One hour and 20 minutes, including one 15-minute intermission.

A Christmas Carol plays through December 10, 2017, at the Gaithersburg Arts Barn–311 Kent Square Road in Gaithersburg, MD.  Purchase tickets online.