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THEATER REVIEW: ‘A Christmas Carol’


I’m sorry to say it, but: Humbug.

And unlike Scrooge, I didn’t change my tune by the end of the Good Company Players production of “A Christmas Carol” at the 2nd Space Theatre. The show isn’t up to GCP standards.

The bright spot is Mark Norwood in the title role of Scrooge. It takes true theatrical finesse to breathe originality and presence into a cliche-prone word like “humbug,” and Norwood is more than up for the task. (You, the reader, might not feel as benevolently about my success in tossing the famed utterance into the lead sentence of this review.) His Scrooge is grumpy and sour, of course, and occasionally a bit whimsical, but he’s also a little scary, which is what this show needs if it isn’t going to descend into cloying sentimentality. Norwood gives us a dark place from which Scrooge can journey into the light, which makes his redemption worth the trip.

Or should have, if directors Max and Nicholle Debbas had given him more of a convincing world for him to inhabit.

I think there were intriguing creative decisions that went into this production. David Pierce’s minimalist scenic design, with its sliding set pieces, is ambitious for the 2nd Space, but the resulting coffin-like mechanism that serves as Scrooge’s bed, for example, seems clunky instead of atmospheric. (I applaud the innovative design, but this wasn’t the right project.) And casting such pivotal roles as the ghosts of Christmas Past and Christmas Present with such young actors was a risk as well — and in this case, it just didn’t pay off.

I’m all for a fresh approach to beloved classics. But to me, the production feels sterile and perfunctory. “A Christmas Carol” deserves better.

You may now commence with any “Scrooge Critic” ripostes you deem deserving.

Responses to "THEATER REVIEW: ‘A Christmas Carol’"

Helen says:

Surely this was not the same Christmas Carol that I saw last Friday at the 2nd Space!

My family and I loved the show! I agree with you on one thing, Mr. Norwood did a great job as Scrooge, bringing a sense of humor to the crotchety character.

The rest of the cast was great as well. The Marley scene scared the little ones, but by the time he left they were laughing with the rest of us.

You couldn’t be more wrong about the children as the 3 spirits!
They each did such a great job bringing a new take on each character. Different from the usual run of the mill Christmas spirits that we read and see year after year. Past and Present were both honest with their delivery and could more than keep up with Dickens take on the characters as well as the added humor of this production.
Same goes for the 2 gentlemen!

It was a first for me to see actual Christmas Carols in a production of A Christmas Carol, and it was a welcome addition!

Overall, I recommend this show to everyone!

Martin Martinez says:

I saw Mark Norwood’s understudy Patrick tromborg in the role who did great. Of special note is Brian Freet who was excellent as Jacob Marley and brought great intensity to the role.Neil Cusick as the young scrooge was great showing great transition as happy person into a greedy one.Speaking of technical greatness,The choreography was great and the voices blended well with each other.

pk says:

Glad I didn’t read this before I went! Mark Norwood was phenomenal, and the trio of boys who play the younger characters were spot on!
My only disagreement would be directorial; by the casting of youthful actors in the ‘Ghosts’ role; Christmas Past was done well, but to have the older character be lectured by a youth in Christmas Present was disconcerting, and weak.
It was a energetic production and enjoyed the musical numbers as well….
Agree, not their best production, but well done, nonetheless!

Judy Boyle says:

Well, this is why it’s a good idea not to read a review before you go. It was a full house last night and I hope word-of-mouth keeps it full. My theater going friends got an email….

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