A Christmas Carol – By AnnMarie Welser

January 7, 2013 in Cindy Bandle Young Critics by Cindy-Bandle-Young-Critics

The 35th anniversary of the Goodman Theatre’s production “A Christmas Carol” is nothing short of a Christmas miracle. With a heartwarming script, lovable cast and breathtaking effects there is much to love about Tom Creamer’s adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic moral tale.

The tale centers around Ebenezer Scrooge, a man who lives a life filled with moral catastrophe, lost faith and greed all because of his past mistakes and tribulations. Scrooge, played by Larry Yando, is a bitter old man who cares for no one around him, especially his joyous employee, Bob Cratchit (Ron Rains) nor his cheerful nephew, Fred (DemetriosTroy). Luckily Scrooge gets a second chance at life as he is visited by his deceased partner Jacob Marley and is told he will be visited by three ghosts. During this journey through time, the story of Scrooge becomes unraveled as he begins to take part in his own moral transformation and find the man he once was.

As this transforming journey occurs, many new characters are introduced to the audience.  All actors hit the stage prepared. Spicing up their performance with little cues which added up to create a big difference. As each new character was introduced they brought their own identity to the Dickens’ classic. Each actor performed in a magical way. Whether they were a lead or an extra, each actor added into the theatrics and never faltered to go all out for this performance. But how could they falter when they had an amazing leader? Larry Yando was beyond fabulous. His feel on the stage was second nature. He flowed through each line, and effortlessly brought the audience from laughs to tears. Yando truly captured the timeless character and brought the audience to a world outside their own.

Although the story is based upon paranormal aspects, it is definitely family friendly, yet still sends a chill throughout the audience. The thrills were balanced with laughs, as the script was both witty yet frightening. The mood was captured by lights and sound as well as the actors. Robert Christen, head of light design, was able to envision Dickens’, from Scrooge’s eerie bedroom to the warming Cratchit household. Todd Rosenthal added to the 1800′s mood by creating a breathtaking set. The overall design of the set including the costumes captured the audience the way Dicksens imagined it. The design focused on each individual room and brought the story to life inside. The entire set design was wondrous in itself as it glided on and off stage. The entire cast did a fantastic job as they maintained the audiences focus by playing off the set and maintaining the audiences’ focus from the magnificent design.

The director Steve Scott did the impossible by reviving this old tale to the tee. Scott brought each aspect to life and maintained Dickens’ morality. He captured Dickens view of Scrooge by showing the revival of a lost soul. Scott hit the moral aspect of the tale, everyone wishes for a chance to rewrite their past mistakes, to bring all their darkness back to light. If you’re lucky enough to receive a second chance, never waste it.