Review: The Rep’s “A Christmas Carol” is Anything But Humbug
- OnStage St. Louis Critic
The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis (The Rep) continues its 50th season with the holiday themed play “A Christmas Carol” based off of the novella by Charles Dickens. The material is often preformed this time or year, but the Rep takes a delightful maturity to the story. The cautionary tale of a life wasted forced me to leave the theatre in a very introspective mindset.
How can I do more good? Am I as open minded and forgiving as the townspeople are to Scrooge? This is very timely show not only because of the season, but also the social environment. As good theatre does, this production makes the audience think while also entertaining.
Standouts in the cast are Chris Tipp (Dick Wilkins/Tom Watkins) and Landon Tate Boyle (Young Scrooge/Ghost of Christmas Future) for their chemistry and friendship during the flashbacks to Christmas Past. John Rensenhouse (Ebenezer Scrooge) plays the arc of the character beautifully. I felt the pain and anger during the flashbacks, and joy at the end. The Ghosts that visited Scrooge were powerful and touching. Jacqueline Thompson (Ghost of Christmas Past) is a careful guide who does not shy away or scare at Scrooge’s temper. Jerry Vogel (Ghost of Christmas Present) is a merrymaker that has too much fun showing Scrooge how the people in his life are currently celebrating while he feels so low about his own life. Vogal also stole the show has funny and kind Mr. Fezziwig. Many of the cast played multiple roles, which is common but can be confusing if not done properly. This group was very successful; I noticed familiar faces but could easily see the new character.
I enjoyed the set (Robert Mark Morgan), lighting (Rob Denton) and costumes (Dorothy Marshall Englis). Their work was a charming demonstration of period while bringing creativity to the Ghosts’ entrances and appearance. The use of smoke and lighting effects honestly had me jumping from my chair. The ensemble was strong and I enjoyed the chorus of caroling throughout the show.
The Rep’s production is a wonderful take on the classic. They remain true to the material, but not simply repeating the same Christmas show cliché. The entire cast and crew does an amazing job. I would recommend this show to get the whole family in the Christmas spirit.
Catch this holiday classic at the St. Louis Rep until December 24th. Show details and ticket information can be found at repstl.org or by calling the box office at 314-968-4925.
Photo: Repertory Theatre of St. Louis