This year, The Little Theatre of Alexandria’s annual performance of A Christmas Carol brings to the stage the Charles Dickens classic using a script adapted by Donna Ferragut. The script is a traditional adaptation, abridged which makes it more accessible for younger viewers. For those not familiar, A Christmas Carol is the story of Ebenezer Scrooge (played by Bob Chaves), a miser who has lost touch with his humanity. Throughout the course of a single night, three ghosts teach him lessons about what truly matters in this life.
The tech team were the stars of this performance. John Downing designed a brilliant two-story set that was as beautiful as it was versatile. Every inch of the stage was functional, allowing for rapid transitions among the multitude of settings. Of course, many people bring a set to life, so congratulations are in order for the entire set team, which also includes Mona Wargo on set painting, Russell Wyland on set dressing and rigging, and master carpenter Tom O’Reilly.
Costumes were equally stunning and true to the period. Designers Ceci Albert and Mary Wallace took great care with every character in this large cast, almost all of whom were playing multiple characters. I couldn’t spot a single item where “good enough” was allowed. The same can be said for Carol Starke for properties design, and audience members should take time to appreciate the careful attention to detail.
David Correia’s sound design was extremely effective and my only regret was that his skills were not used more throughout the performance. With so many scene changes and settings, sound can be the perfect tool and Correia seems more than up to the challenge.
Director and choreographer Kelsey Yudice created some new and interesting moments in a show that many will have seen, perhaps many times, before. Incorporating the villagers in the Ghost of Christmas Future scene and the children on the second story in the Ghost of Christmas Present scene were excellent choices. There is some room for growth, however, as transitions were often jarring and unfocused, creating confusion despite the well-known story. There was also a lot of blocking that forced actors to upstage themselves.
The cast was a true ensemble, including adults and children of all ages. Young actors Alexandra Beach, Natalia Beach, Luca Lorenzen-Schmidt, Arielle Senavitis and Julia Stimson, each playing multiple roles, were a delight. Devin Walsh as Young Scrooge, Topper, Gentlemen, and Ghost stood out with his energy and endearing eagerness. I also appreciated the choice of Sharon Fernandez as the Ghost of Christmas Past – it was interesting to see the role played by a vibrant young woman as opposed to the typical choice of a soft-spoken wisp of a girl, and it worked.
This show has some rough spots, but the technical work is worth seeing and the shortened length makes it a good choice for those with younger children. A Christmas Carol remains timeless – a poignant reminder of what truly matters, especially during tumultuous times.
Lighting Design by Bill Glikbarg; Marley played by Kevin J. Broderick; Ghost of Christmas Present played by Tom Bethards; Ghost of Christmas Future played by Florence Ferraro; Bob Cratchit played by James Senvitis
Running Time: 80 minutes, with no intermission