When Christmas Past, Present and Future collide on a glowing, snow-covered stage on a winter’s night, you’re in for a magical experience.
The beloved Charles Dickens tale A Christmas Carol
The beloved Charles Dickens tale “A Christmas Carol” comes to life so elegantly in the Indiana Repertory Theatre production, I had a hard time keeping inventory of all the things I loved about the production! There’s enough magic to see, hear and feel to delight guests of all ages―and the message of gratitude, kindness and generosity is one I’m pretty sure we all can benefit from remembering at this busy time of year. This is a story I’ve read countless times, seen on stage in many different theatres, and even performed in a few times in “Christmases Past.” Somehow, it never gets old.
The actors in IRT’s cast bring out the rich poetry of Dickens’ gorgeous words, and deliver fresh and sometimes surprising interpretations of the familiar characters. I can only imagine the time and thought director Ben Hanna and the cast put into the narration portions of the alone – it takes incredible timing and synergy for actors to deliver those unison lines so beautifully!
Ryan Artzberger is masterful in transforming from bitter, stingy, Scrooge, “hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire,” to the transformed “light as a feather” version of himself, bubbling over with laughter after the spirits’ visits. I loved real-life couple Rob Johansen and Jennifer Johansen as the Cratchits. And I found a big smile on my face watching the playfulness and personality that Stephenie Soohyun Park brought to Christmas Past, and Milicent Wright to Christmas Present and Mrs. Fezziwig. I could go on and on―there is no weak link in this cast. Every individual does a beautiful job weaving together the tapestry of the story.
The historic Christmas music, delivered vocally and with instruments, draws the audience deeper into the holiday spirit. The sounds of old carols are a perfect complement the production’s stunning visual effects. The snowy scenic design by Russell Metheny and lighting design by Michael Lincoln, combined with the soft palette and textured details of the costumes by Murell Horton, work magically together to create a mesmerizing and ethereal look. Trap doors in the snow-covered floors create ghostly effects and add drama to scene changes. And when snowflakes start to fall several times during the show, the simple, sparkling beauty is enough to give you goosebumps.
It’s the kind of production that makes me proud to live in a city brimming with holiday traditions and a rich arts community. I hope you and your family will enjoy this show as much as I did! As Tiny Tim says, God bless us, everyone, and happy holidays!
“A Christmas Carol” is on stage through December 26 at Indiana Repertory Theatre. For ticket information, visit irtlive.com or call 317.635.5252.