Carol's Christmas

by Kathleen Oliver

The Arts Club Theatre Company
Director: DD Kugler Set design: Yvan Morissette Lighting design: Marsha Sibthorpe Costume design: Christine Reimer Composer and Sound design: John McCulloch Stage Manager: Chris Allan

Venue: Granville Island Stage
Dates: 28 November 2002 - 4 January 2003

Reviewer: Jane Penistan

Carol's Christmas is a modern take on Dickens' well-known Christmas Carol. Kathleen Oliver's witty, perceptive script delights while it underscores some of the less attractive traits in a successful twenty-first-century commercial radio programme broadcaster. There is plenty of humour and humanity here, and little sentimentality.

Yvan Morissette's versatile contemporary set has all the polish of successful business premises. The light wood and uncluttered lines of the sparse but practical furniture, together with the spaciousness of the stage all suggest superficial wealth with little comfort. This is the hardheaded business world with no room for personalities or idiosyncrasies. The lighting is bright and harsh where this is called for and subtle and subdued during the warmer flashback scenes of past family life.

Kerry Sandomirsky carries Carol through the play from hard shelled radio interviewer and workaholic business woman, back to childhood memories of the enjoyment of being a loved child in an affectionate family, to the ambitious career woman with no time for romance or compassion, to the loneliness of a friendless "success" and an awakening to the world outside commerce. The five other members of the cast play multiple roles.

Allan Morgan is the voice of reason and humanity in his scenes as a father with his family, and as he returns to haunt Carol in her self-imposed ostracism. Dion Johnstone is the faithful lover, besides being an announcer and business associate. Patti Allan, Brendan Beiser and Tiffany Lyndall-Knight competently and convincingly play family members, business associates, friends and neighbours, changing as instantly and effortlessly and as seamlessly as the flow of the play demands.

There is lots of entertainment here in this good evening of Christmas past, present and future with its subtle parallels to Dickens' Victorian tale. Add to this, it's home-grown in Vancouver, from the play's first reading to this scintillating first night. Congratulations to the Arts Club, playwright, cast and crew of Carol's Christmas.

Carol's Christmas runs at The Arts Club Granville Island Stage, 1585 Johnstone Street, Granville Island, 28 November 2002 - 4 January 2003, Monday through Saturday at 20.00. with matinees Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2.00 p.m. Tickets Monday to Saturday Adult $29 -$38, Seniors $26 - $38 and Students $19 - $38. Matinees Adult $29, Seniors $26 Students $19. There are numerous special performances. For information and to reserve tickets call the Box Office at 604.687.1644.

2002, Jane Penistan