Little Theatre of Alexandria A Christmas CarolBy Xandra Weaver • Dec 3rd, 2012 • Category: Reviews
Little Theatre of Alexandria
Little Theatre of Alexandria, Alexandria, VA
Through December 16th
1:20, without intermission
Reviewed November 30th, 2012
Around this time of year, it is not much of a surprise to turn a corner and find a display reminiscent of the cobblestones and lamp posts, carols and costumes of England in the 1800s. So it is not much of a jump to visit the doorstep of Old Ebenezer Scrooge, brought to life by The Little Theater of Alexandria. They are all there, Bob Cratchit (played by Cal Whitehurst), the Ghosts of the Christmases, and even Tiny Tim (played by the adorable Cillian Farrell).
The light and warmth of this production tells the story again as it was meant to be told. Ebenezer Scrooge (played by Elliot Bales) is a towering statue, a living ice block, whose “Bah HUMBUG” is as grim as any could growl it. He’s visited by the ghost of his former partner, Jacob Marley (Robert Heinly), and with a rattling of chains and a whoosh of wind, his journey towards redemption begins.
The darling children steal the show, as would be expected, with charming smiles and hopeful innocence. This cast has beautiful chemistry, and the honesty of their interactions serve the story well. Also of note was Robert Heinly as Marley. His sonorous voice and commitment to the character were exceptional.
The star of the show, Mr Scrooge himself, Elliot Bales, was in fine form. He played the ogre convincingly, and brought the character to his redemption splendidly. Bales and Erik Harrison, playing his nephew, Fred, showed a very strong relationship. This particular cast used that relationship as a wonderful vehicle for the ultimate redemption.
Overall, the spectacle was wonderful. The stage was well-lit and dressed with Scrooge’s workplace and bedroom all in one, which then became the set for all the visions he sees as the clock struck one. The costumes shone out, as being both lively and period appropriate. Some of the vernacular of the play takes getting used to, as a few voices rang out with a slightly less than perfect English diction, but overall the cast held together. Similarly, a few members of the cast, most notably the Christmas Ghosts, chose to amp up the dramatics of the well-worn play, and became much much larger than life.
The dynamic that the cast built was warm and homey, building on traditions and using materials of the well-loved story to create the spectacle we expect. The audience loved it, the cast was energetic, and the story was well told.
Written in 1843, Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” is undoubtedly one of the world’s best loved stories. Dickens’ approach to the novella was to divide it into distinct episodes, called staves, a term that refers to a musical notation staff. The use of this term synchronizes beautifully with the title, A Christmas Carol.
The story is largely allegorical, with a clear theme of redemption. Each ghost has a specific function: the Ghost of Christmas Past represents memory; the Ghost of Christmas Present represents charity; and finally, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come represents the universal fear of judgement after death. Scrooge himself symbolizes a self-centered, self-regarding society. By way of contrast, the Cratchits portray the joy that may be experienced despite poverty and difficult circumstances. And Fred, Scrooge’s nephew, who delivers a staunch monologue in support of Christmas, serves as a foil to Scrooge and a vision of what Scrooge may yet become.
It is here that we see the moral of the play: Each of us has the opportunity to be redeemed from a life of inward focus to one of outward focus. When confronted with memories of a happier past, an understanding of those less fortunate, and the paralyzing thought of punishment or reward following death, we can complete the conversion to become charitable, caring and socially conscious members of society.
As you enjoy this timeless production, allow yourself a moment for personal reflection on the glorious memories of Christmases past, the joys that can be found in the present, and the optimism for a better and brighter future. I hope you will find A Christmas Carol to be a magical, reminiscent encounter illustrating the spirit of Christmas that can last throughout the year.
With warm wishes for a happy Christmas, Rachael Hubbard, Director
Photos by Doug Olmsted
- Charles Dickens: Mark Lee Adams
- Martha: Nikki Amico
- Mrs. Cratchit: Ashley Amidon
- Belinda Cratchit: Clare Baker
- Ebenezer Scrooge: Elliot Bales
- Mrs. Fezziwig/Laundress: Melanie Bales
- Lillian: Emma Canfield
- Young Scrooge/Ghost of Christmas Future: Alexander Collins
- Henry Cratchit/Robert: Brian Downie
- Tiny Tim: Cillian Farrell
- Spirit of Christmas/Child Soloist/Belle’s Oldest Daughter: Saoirse Farrell
- Belle’s Child: Penelope Gallagher
- Molly Cratchit/Caroler/Want: Lindsey Gattuso
- Old Joe: Terry Gish
- Fezziwig/Poulterer/Ghost of Christmas Present: Lawrence O. Grey Jr.
- Jacob Marley: Robert Heinly
- Topper/Fezziwig Guest/Gentleman 1: Richard Isaacs
- Fan/Belle’s Child: Grace Keefe
- Fred: Erik Harrison
- Belle: Brittany Morgan
- Ghost of Christmas Past/Housekeeper: Heather Norcross
- Fred’s Wife: Kristin O’Malley
- Dick Wilkins: Brian Clark
- Peter Cratchit: John Ray
- Turkey Boy/Belle’s Child: Charlie Ruppe
- Gentleman 2: Paul Tamney
- Belle’s Child/Ignorance: Viktoria Truitt
- Bob Cratchit: Cal Whitehurst
- Boy Scrooge: Julian Worth
- Producers: Lloyd Bittinger, Eddy Roger Parker
- Director: Rachael Hubbard
- Musical Director: Linda Wells
- Choreographer: Grace Machanic
- Stage Manager: Margaret Evans-Joyce
- Assistant Stage Manager: Jean Coyle
- Set Design and Set Construction: Chris Feldmann
- Lighting Design: Nancy Owens
- Costume Design: Jean Schlichting, Kit Sibley
- Sound Design: Alan Wray
- Set Painting: Deidre Nicholson-Lamb
- Set Decoration: Russel Wyland
- Master Electrician: Eileen Doherty
- Property Designer: Ben Norcross
- Wardrobe: Margaret Snow
- Hair, Makeup and Wig Design: Tiffany Pache
- Accent Coach: Heather Sanderson
- Rigging: Russell Wyland
- Photographer: Doug Olmsted
- Videographers: John Hartz, Jim Hartz
- Young Actor Coordinator: Katherine Dillaber
Disclaimer: Little Theatre of Alexandria provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/8893.
Xandra Weaver has a great love of the process of theater and the creation of art that has led her into working both behind the scenes and onstage. Her career includes working for many years providing sound and lights for both professional and amateur shows as well as makeup work for a feature film. At college, she specialized in makeup to earn her theater degree, and discovered a love for directing and playwrighting. She's also been a nominee for the DC area theater WATCH awards for her work with the company of The Producers with The Arlington Players.