Theatre Calgary has been delighting audiences with A Christmas Carol for 30 years, alteration up the adaption, cast, and assembly every few years to accumulate audiences advancing aback for more. This year, administrator Stafford Arima has taken Geoffrey Simon Brown’s adjustment and presented Calgary with a casting new Christmas Carol. With music administration by Allison Lynch, and choreography by Jesse Robb, this was absolutely a Calgarian accord of theatre.
The adventure is consistently the same. Charles Dickens’ archetypal Christmas account of Ebenezer Scrooge, visited by spirts of the past, present, and approaching who appearance him the adeptness of amore and generosity, and admonish the admirers that it is never too backward to change. Told through song, dance, spectacle, and 18-carat heart, there is a acumen this adventure has endured.
Geoffrey’s new adaption didn’t devious too far from the aboriginal text; instead, presenting the concepts of allowance the poor and homeless, and assuming amore to all in a new light. I acquainted that the capacity of the show, rather than actuality brindled as allotment of the adventure of the appearance Scrooge, were instead at the beginning of the arena and the characters took added or beneath a backseat. That is not to say that the characters were any beneath developed or emotionally driven, but I anticipate we as an admirers were told the moral rather than larboard to ascertain it on our own. There was abundant beneath altercation and assumption assignment involved.
Accompanying the new calligraphy was a new set and video architecture by Scott Reid. Again, the set didn’t absolutely acclimate the Victorian settings but this year, there was abundant added accent on new abstruse elements like projection, wires, and automatic set movers. The use of added animatronics and abstruse architecture rather than acceptable manpower was neither acceptable nor bad but I do adopt a added concrete access to date effects. The alloy amid date and awning was absolutely absolutely able-bodied done. There were a few scenes – Scrooge’s appointment comes to apperception – area the accommodation of the bump fabricated the date feel so big and abandoned admitting absent to accord a activity of a abridgement of space. However, seeing the sets move on their own, and the projections of aerial through London, helped to advertise that bewitched and abnormal aspect of the story.
Michael Walton’s lighting architecture was an absorbing antithesis of analogous and allegory elements. Added than the use of strobe, aciculate reds, and blinding whites, which were boundless to say the least, I admired the balmy tones of the accomplished and the air-conditioned accent of the present. Overall, I saw the absorption to detail in the abstruse storytelling.
The apparel by Deitra Kalyn were beautifully designed. I saw the anticipation that went into the colour schemes and the Victorian fit, which fabricated the two animal alcohol angle out for their alien characteristics. I was absorbed by the Ghost of Christmas Present and the admirable attendance fabricated with the arduous acme and ablaze colours. A aces embodiment. I admit, aback the Ghost of Christmas Accomplished aboriginal entered, I anticipation she looked a little like a jellyfish, but the fairie or sprite-ness of the apparel formed as a abundant adverse to the aureate browns of the accomplished scenes.
Of all the changes fabricated to this story, the one connected was Ebenezer Scrooge. Stephen Hair has been arena Scrooge for 26 years, and his compassionate of who this man is, forth with his adeptness to acclimate with every new abundance and abound with anniversary new cast, is a attestation to his absurd talent. There are some traditions that are meant to aftermost and Stephen Hair as Ebenezer Scrooge is one of them.
A new accession was the addition of the Fiddler, played by Allison Lynch, who anecdotal to the admirers and stepped central the apple to beam Scrooge’s adventure through music. The role of the Fiddler was alluring to me, acting as addition spirit to watch over Scrooge as he grows and changes. Lynch had this admirable aerial amore as she anecdotal and confused in and out of reality. The calmness that she embodied was perfect.
Though it is a abrupt by capital arena in the story, I begin Jacob Marley’s admonishing to Scrooge underwhelming but I can’t absolutely define what it was. I got the consequence that Brian Jensen, in his white architecture and chains, capital to move about added but couldn’t, accustomed the constraints of the costume/set design. I struggled to apprehend him at times, admitting I apperceive microphones were accessible to the alcohol to enhance their choir as they performed abnormal feats such as affective and aerial with loud chains attached.
Playing the spikey, sprite, and the apotheosis of Christmas Accomplished was Jamie Tognazzini. She brought a admirable archness to the appearance and admitting some of the wire assignment absent us and her, she never let it derail the fairy-like amore of her movement, a adverse to the somewhat belted movement of Christmas Present. Portrayed by Marshal Vielle Natay’ao’tako, Present’s apparel was absurd – as it should be – but it took abroad a lot of his movement befalling and larboard him with his face and best of his accoutrements as his alone anatomy of concrete expression. He fabricated a blithesome and bouncy spirit that the admirers abundantly enjoyed.
The aftermost of the three alcohol is commonly a appearance whose face is never apparent and doesn’t accept to be played by any accurate actor. I was absolutely aghast in this estimation of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. In an attack to actualize a looming, and beyond than activity figure, I anticipation it looked amoral and unreadable. I wouldn’t accept accepted what the puppetted animal was accomplishing unless Scrooge had anecdotal for us. The use of the bolt was absolutely artistic but the appearance itself was my atomic favourite by far.
This casting was abounding with some of Calgary’s finest, some from antecedent productions demography on new roles, some demography them on for the aboriginal time, and others advancing aback afterwards a few years away. Graham Percy’s assuming of the disturbing by acceptable Bob Cratchit was absolutely what I expected. Percy is an amateur who has the attending of a man in aerial alcohol no amount what he’s doing, a admirable fit for the poor man who finds achievement and joy admitting the sorrows. It fabricated the absolute anguish in his activity hit that abundant harder to see that smile abatement away. Fierce and abundantly loving, Anna Cummer played his wife Alice Cratchit with a accustomed affectionate amore appear the accouchement – and you absolutely believed she would breach Scrooge a new one for the adulation of her family.
The added brace who act as an archetype of the abstraction of “poor of money but affluent of spirit” were the admired Fezziwigs, played this year by Mark Bellamy and Karen Johnson-Diamond. The new argument gave added weight to the appearance of Fezziwig with speeches on adamantine bread-and-butter times and begin families, and Bellamy rose to the claiming with an communicable activity that brought the accomplished admirers forth for the journey. Of course, Johnson-Diamond embodied the affectionate body of Mrs. Fezziwig seamlessly. The amore she brought to this appearance altogether akin her partner’s.
Filling out the Cratchit ancestors timberline were Cash Davis, Ava Hornung, Marina Kadri, Jackson MacNeil, Hannah Wu, and adolescent Oliver Woodruff as Tiny Tim. The appearance additionally featured Evan Andersen Sterns as the Boy Scrooge and the caroler Thomas, and Julianne Smith as Fan.
Rounding out the casting were Brett Dahl, as Fred, Christopher Duthie as Dick Wilkins, Emma Houghton as Belle, Vanessa Jetté Naya as Mrs. Dilber, Devin MacKinnon as Adolescent Scrooge, Declan O’Reilly as Ensemble (and Scrooge Understudy), and Genevieve Pare as Emily.
This adventure is an old one and every year, a new concept, a new actor, or a new calligraphy appear forth to anatomy A Christmas Carol in a different way. What I saw from Geoffrey Simon Brown’s new adjustment was a admiration to put these Victorian struggles in a abreast light. The abstruse advancements are a attestation to the innovations theatre companies are authoritative every year. While my amore will consistently lie with applied effects, I anticipate the new architecture formed to enhance the abracadabra of the world.
I adulation Calgary’s mix of new shows every year and traditions that can accompany families together. Theatre Calgary’s assembly of A Christmas Carol is a abiding attitude and this newest assembly alone shows the baby changes that can accumulate it animate in the ever-evolving theatre community. I attending advanced to seeing what changes are fabricated abutting year.
A Christmas Carol will be arena at the Max Bell Theatre until December 28th 2019. Tickets can be purchased at www.theatrecalgary.com.
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