A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Date and Venue 12 December 2009. | Denver Performing Arts Centre, Denver, Colorado USA

Reviewer Patricia Fleming

It was a delight to watch this holiday favourite by Charles Dickens at The Stage Theatre in the Denver Performing Arts Center. This production of the wonderful tale of Ebenezer Scrooge where his life is redeemed from an inward focus of money, greed and material wealth to an outward focus of generosity, compassion and love, and his discovery of the “real” meaning of Christmas, came with a fresh approach.

The great sets, opulent costumes, and great singing were there, but also this version had some add-ons that made it a very enjoyable experience (and fun) for the audience.  First off, the theatre is a semi circle and the stage juts out into the audience so we are “pulled into” the production as performers came out into our midst and entered past us up the stairs – it made the whole experience more intimate and fun.  Then there were some great special effects (strobe lights, fog and more) making it more dimensional, and we felt like an integral part of the production

I really enjoyed the special effects and Marley’s ghost, who came up out of the floorboards wrapped in a shroud of fog and chains, was very effective and delighted the 8 year old in our party who thought that was very cool. Three Christmas ghosts visited Scrooge that night (with a projected clock on the floor showing us the clock striking one when the ghost would appear was very effective).  

The Ghost of Xmas past, showing a kinder, gentler boyhood Scrooge- a long-ago person, was poignant. The second spirit, ghost of Xmas present, showed people being joyful out on the streets preparing for Xmas feasts and the singing was particularly good in this part of the production.  Some great voices.  We saw Bob Cratchit's family preparing for dinner while generously toasting Scrooge, and his nephew, who has always made friendly overtures to his uncle, once again inviting his Uncle to come and join them and trying to understand his Uncle’s miserable ways.  It was nicely put together.

The last Ghost of the Future showing Tiny Tim’s demise, which fortunately didn’t come about as Scrooge finally was redeemed and joined the human race, was touching!  Tiny Tim was saved…Scrooge gave Bob Cratchit a raise, he embraced his nephew’s family, he gave to the poor and became a full fledged member of the human race again.  It was a lovely production.  Great sets, great performers, a wonderful Scrooge and a fabulous venue and a lovely Sunday afternoon reminder of what Xmas is all about.

.© 2009 Patricia Fleming