It seems to be the time of year to reflect on past misdeeds and behavior but at times one begins to wonder whether or not it matters or if a person really can change. “A Christmas Carol” can renew your hope in humanity. In this Christmas Classic originally by Charles Dickens and adapted by Tom Creamer, we follow Ebenezer Scrooge as he is visited by four ghosts in an effort to correct his miserly ways. The show runs until Dec. 29 at the Goodman Theatre.
Larry Yando did an excellent job as Ebenezer Scrooge. During the more dramatic moments of his transformation, his commitment to the character really paid off. However during the more comedic moments where Yando could’ve given Scrooge more depth as a character, he instead played them off as just bits that the director told him to do. In the end I believed more in Michael Sugato’s Peter Cratchit than I did in Yando’s Scrooge.
Some moments felt like the either the director, Steve Scott, or the actors did not trust in the playwright. For instance, when The Ghost of Christmas Present, Penelope Walker, repeated Scrooge’s condemnation of the poor back to him. A strange exaggerated emphasis was put on
the line, it lacked any specific emotion besides a desperate plea of “this is important.” More trust should be put in the playwright and the audience so that subtler moments like those won’t be missed.
There were many interesting and effective technological aspects of the show, from fog to strobe lights. At certain points they helped shift the mood from a fun holiday party to the visit of a foreboding specter.While they were a fun addition for me that might not be the case for every audience member.While the sound design was amazingly effective for most scenes there were times like with Joe Foust’s Jacob Marley where an actor seemed more focused on executing a difficult technical aspect of the show, for example the shaking of his chains which were timed with a sound cue, than they were with acting.
All in all the ensemble’s support of the principles allowed for an altogether amazing show. “A Christmas Carol” transports you to a different time and place and allows you to for a while to experience a simpler more honest world.