A Christmas Carol
Michael RJ Campbell
Lucinda Hitchcock Cone
Matt K. Miller
Director | Michael Laun
Musical Director | Chris Schlagel
December 1 - 26, 2010
SACRAMENTO THEATRE COMPANY
1419 H St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
Reviews and Recognition for A Christmas Carol
Review: Moving 'Carol' at Sacramento Theatre Company
By Marcus Crowder, The Sacramento Bee
Monday Dec. 6, 2010
The enduring qualities of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" are in its profound message of redemption. There are few among us who would refuse the opportunity to make certain things right or better.
In the new Sacramento Theatre Company production on its own wonderful adaptation, the story's message gets powerfully conveyed by Matt K. Miller's transformed Scrooge. Miller has of course played the part before, but this year's seems more finely etched.
The adaptation by Sacramento-area playwright Richard Hellesen, with music by the late David De Berry, has a sober, dark element, which allows for an honest cathartic reversal. The moving emotional qualities of the production are earned despite some unevenness throughout. The group singing and narration is not all it might be, with inconsistencies in projection and articulation.
Miller's Scrooge is surrounded by a strong core ensemble, including Jerry Lee's generous and humane Fred, Scrooge's nephew; Gillen Morrison's inspiring Bob Cratchit, Scrooge's clerk; and Maggie Hollinbeck as both Mrs. Cratchit and the luminous Ghost of Christmas Past.
Michael RJ Campbell has excellent moments as both the pastoral Ghost of Christmas Present and the ebullient Fezziwig. Orlana Klip, as Fred's wife and the first Miss Fezziwig, has a clear, bright soprano voice which beautifully colors De Berry's score.
Director Michael Laun effectively uses the spirited actors from STC's Young Professional Conservatory generously, filling out the stage with them.
Hellesen's adaptation smartly distills Dickens' message, and two moments particularly stand out. The first is when Fred asks Scrooge to Christmas dinner, an invitation which is sneered at. Fred calmly explains the beauty of Christmas as "a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely."
Later Scrooge is shown what that means as the scene alternates from the good cheer at Fred's dinner to the loving family communion in the Cratchit household. There the meaning of Christmas unfolds in Scrooge's understanding of all he has missed but still can be a part of.