What would the Yuletide season be without Charles Dickens’ Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim, and the visiting spirits of Christmases past, present and future? The Little Theatre of Alexandria is taking care of this tradition in high style presenting “A Christmas Carol” through December 22.
The curtain opens on early Victorian London beautifully rendered by set designer John Downing, transporting the audience to 1843 to hear Scrooge’s story of redemption via supernatural means. Sumptuous period wardrobe and fanciful costumes for the ghostly visitors enliven the stage, thanks to the team of Ceci Albert, Mary Wallace, and Susan Goudreaux.
The Little Theatre of Alexandria’s production of A Christmas Carol allows the true message of Dickens’ tale to shine through.
Leading the actors in this lively production, Bob Chaves is an understated and wounded Scrooge, less bellowing than other performers’ take on the role, without losing any of the familiar humbug-nature. Chaves brings out the weariness of a man at the end of his rope who seems bemused more than frightened by his spectral visitors, starting with Scrooge’s late business partner Jacob Marley – brought to life by Kevin J. Broderick.
As adapted by Donna Farragut, the play faithfully presents Dickens’s oft-told “ghost story of Christmas,” taking Scrooge from his happier past, to the present day, and his potentially bleak future. Along the way, a lively ensemble enthusiastically breathes life into a variety of characters. Tyson Samuels is an earnest nephew, Fred, while James Senavitis brings warmth in his portrayal of Bob Cratchit.
As the radiant and lovely Ghost of Christmas Past, Sharon Fernandez makes a striking appearance, leading Scrooge back to his childhood. Tom Bethards is the boisterous Fezziwig and the impressive Ghost of Christmas Present, among other characters. Also in the past, Luca Lorenzen-Schmidt and Julia Stimson breathe life into the boy Scrooge and his sister Fan. The young man Scrooge is played with determination by Devin Walsh. Emily Hemmingson makes a heart-wrenching turn as Scrooge’s first and only love, Belle, who realizes that Ebenezer’s devotion to money trumps his love for her.
When Scrooge’s looks to the present, he sees the Cratchit family, a lively group to be sure, lead by Erika Olander as Mrs. Cratchit. The Cratchit children are played by Chace Bolden (Peter), Charlotte Nichols (Martha), Zoey Vaghin-Carlos (Belinda), with Arielle Senavitis and Natalia Beach as the unnamed members of the family. Vaghin-Carlos also made a memorable appearance as a street urchin who sings “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.”
What would “A Christmas Carol” be without the heart-warming and beloved character, Tiny Tim? For LTA’s production, Alexandra Beach and Kaiden Crill share the role on alternate performances.
Rounding out the ensemble, Florence Ferraro takes the stage as the be-spectacled Ghost of Christmas Future, and Aimee Meher-Homiji cuts a memorable comic figure as Scrooge’s housekeeper and Mrs. Fezziwig.
Director and choreographer Kelsey Yudice keeps the brisk production moving along a clip, with smooth transitions between scenes, utilizing the kaleidoscopic lighting design by Bill Glikbard to full advantage. The interpolation of seasonal carols and lively piano music by Steve McBride and Gyr Turshen likewise adds flavor to the production.
When all is said and done, Little Theatre of Alexandria’s production of “A Christmas Carol” allows the true message of Dickens’ tale to shine through: Scrooge’s redemption and the sharing of the true spirit of the season. And one the entire family can enjoy.
Running Time: 70 minutes, no intermission
“A Christmas Carol” runs through December 22, 2019, at The Little Theatre of Alexandria, 600 Wolfe Street, Alexandria, VA. For tickets call (703) 683-0496 or click here.