The Flash List
Theater Review: A Christmas Carol
© THE FLASH LIST | December 2, 2012
Dallas Theater Center at the Kalita Humphreys Theater
By Charles Dickens,
Adapted for stage b y Richard Hellesen
Original music, with lyrics written or adapted
from traditional sources by David de Berry
Directed and choreographed by Joel Ferrell
Music Direction by Lindy Heath Cabe, photos by Karen Almond
“For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.” Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
It is said that the more things change, the more they stay the same; and despite Dallas Theater Center’s final season of presenting A Christmas Carol at the Kalita Humphreys Theater before launching a brand new production tailor-made for the Wyly Theatre in 2013, the young and young-at-heart can still enjoy this beloved holiday classic which continues to provide guests with an opportunity to not only feel good but also to do good. This “Ghost Story of Christmas” set in 1843 London features festive singing and lively dancing mixed with surprising special effects, characters that seem to pop out of nowhere, furniture that seems to move around on its own, and enough eerie apparitions to spook the “bah, humbug” right out of the staunchest yuletide resisters.
In one of the most Mr. Potter-like, Scrooge-iest Scrooge performances we’ve seen, Brierley Resident Acting Company Member Chamblee Ferguson is magnificent as the cold-hearted, penny-pinching Ebenezer Scrooge who receives a stern warning about the consequences of a “life of opportunities misused” from his deceased business partner The Ghost of Jacob Marley (Brian Gonzales).
After visitations by three spirits - The Ghost of Christmas Past (Blake Hackler), The Ghost of Christmas Present (Liz Mikel), and The Ghost of Christmas Future - Scrooge’s callous nature gives way to giddy, child-like excitement and undeniable sentiments that actor Chamblee Ferguson intensely emits by oppressive shouts, comedic acrobatics, and painfully-powerful emotion-laden facial expressions which he conveys as he simply stands still.
The theater’s large rotating turntable stage keeps the action - as well as the actors - moving and the audience enthralled throughout this never-a-dull-moment Christmas play, as Steven Michael Walters elicits viewer empathy by bringing a realistically human characteristic to the role of Bob Cratchit, Scrooge’s underpaid and under-warmed clerk, and Lee Trull is resolutely compassionate as Scrooge’s prosperous nephew Fred.
At the conclusion of this alternating view of the stark contrast between modest and luxury lifestyles, theatergoers are given an opportunity to respond personally. In a continued partnership with the North Texas Food Bank, Dallas Theater Center is providing a location for patrons to donate non perishable food items, and members of the cast will also collect monetary donations after every performance. There was no pressure at all; but throwing just one dollar into the bucket will provide three meals for less fortunate members of our North Texas community.
A Christmas Carol runs through Sunday, December 23, 2012 with ticket prices beginning at $15.00 and all seats in the house good ones. The hauntingly delightful story warms the heart while chilling the bones, which the intimate Kalita Humphreys Theater is known to do as well. Therefore, patrons can find stacks of blankets provided along the back walls; so feel free to pick one up on your way to your seat if you like. And as always, stick around after the play for a free, brief, lively post-show conversation with a cast member where you can hear and share insights.
For more information and tickets, see the following websites; and may "God bless us, every one!"