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December 9, 2014 Published in Arts & Style, Other News

A Christmas Carol At LTA

by Laura Fries

HomepageGraphics2014.15.qxp_Floodlight GraphicsOne could thank Charles Dickens for, among other things, paperback novels, the revival of Christmas customs like carol singing and flaming puddings as well as heralding in “new” traditions such as Christmas trees and holiday cards.  Audiences can be thankful that The Little Theatre of Alexandria kicks of the holiday season with annual productions of the Dickens classic “A Christmas Carol.” This year, director Rachael Hubbard acts as your own personal Ghost of Christmas Present, sprinkling a magical blend of good cheer—not to mention good direction—for audiences to enjoy. Hubbard’s adaptation is true to Dickens’ original “staves” or scenes for a concise and fulfilling one act play. Mike Baker, Jr. plays a more more sarcastic, dismissive Scrooge than straight up mean. It’s as if, throughout his adventures with four ghosts, Marley (a fearsome Robert Heinly), Past (ethereal Olivia Hays), Present (Heinly, again) and Future (Alexander Collin), we see his carefully constructed ego-defense mechanisms slowly chipped away. The measure of a good Christmas Carol, though, is always by the Cratchits and the Fezziwigs and to that end this production scores big! Brian Clarke and Melanie Bales offer tender, heartfelt moments as the put-upon working poor while Larry Grey and Colleen Robinson are marvelous and the fun Fezziwigs. Collins as nephew Fred is an appealing crowd pleaser as is the entire young supporting cast. They all show amazing stage presence and talent.  Two adorable and well behaved pups bring oohs and ahhs from the audiences. However, if Jovani Morales-Shackelford as Tiny Tim simply doesn’t melt your heart—you probably didn’t have one in the first place. The sets and costumes are simply amazing and bring the production professional level quality.

Most people think A Christmas Carol is simply about greed, but listen closely; Dickens tells us very clearly that ignorance is our doom.  And while this story has been done so many times that the lessons may fall on deaf ears, the moral of “A Christmas Carol” feels more timely now more than ever. Audiences should seize their chance to get the message and the spirit from now until December 20.

“It is a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things, that while there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humour.”  Charles Dickens.

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