(Posted 9 a.m., Dec. 5)
of Dickens classic rekindles Christmas spirit
By Fred Sherwin
Loveridge plays Ebenezer Scrooge in the Orleans Young Players production
of 'A Christmas Carol' on this weekend in the Black Box Theatre at the Shenkman
Arts Centre. Fred Sherwin/Photo
When the Orleans
Young Players' Christmas class was trying to decide on a play that fit the
theatre school's theme for the 2009-2010 season of classical theatre, the
choice was obvious.
When it comes
to Christmas classics there is nothing more enduring, or endearing, than
the timeless Dickens masterwork "A Christmas Carol", the Victorian-era
tale about the miserly curmudgeon Ebenezer Scrooge who is given a chance
to redeem himself after being visited by three spirits.
The story has
been retold hundreds of times, both on the stage and in the movies. The
most famous of the many adaptations is the 1951 silver screen version starring
Alistair Sim as Ebenezer Scrooge.
is this version that OYPTS artistic director Kathi Langston decided to use
as a guide in developing her own adaptation of the Dickens classic, appropriately
titled "An OYP Christmas Carol", which was recently presented
at the Shenkman Arts Centre.
stuck as close to the original story as possible, although there were a
handful of omissions made for brevity's sake. The large cast included a
number of OYPTS veterans like Gordon Watts, who played Uncle Fred; Lynn
Lebel, who played Bob Marley; Tyler Smith who was one of the narrators;
and Hayden Smith who made a brief appearance as Mr. Fezziwig.
role was given to first-timer David Loveridge. It was a risky bit of casting,
especially for such a well-known character, but Loveridge did an admirable
job especially early on in the play when Scrooge is at his bah, humbug best.
For someone who
has grown up watching the black and white film version of "A Christmas
Carol", seeing the tale unfold live and in living colour was a real
treat. My 11-year-old twin boys, on the other hand, said they still preferred
the Mickey Mouse version after seeing the play.
most intriguing aspect of any adaptation of "A Christmas Carol"
is the portrayal of the Christmas spirits. Lynn Label's chain-ladened apparition
of Jacob Marley was spot on, although I'm not sure how her voice held up
through all four performances.
If the Guinness
Book of Records had a category for tallest Ghost of Christmas Past, it would
go hands down to Parisa Brown-Yazdani who, at 6' 1" or 6' 2",
towered over the cowering Scrooge.
Julia Bucar did
a good job as the Ghost of Christmas Present and Gordo Smith added a new
twist to the Ghost of Christmas Future by gliding around the stage on rollerblades.
enjoyed Sam Loveridge's performance of Scrooge as a young man, and Kaera
Griffin, who played Scrooge's fiancee Bella, did an excellent job as well.
Ditto for Tara Yetts, who played Scrooge's charwoman Liza Dilber, and Ian
McGregor who played old Joe.
that stood out include Gordon Watts' portrayal of Scrooge's nephew Fred
and Arras Hopkins as Bob Crachit. Tyler Smith, Melinda Theriault and Brianna
Budge-Bolduc also did a stellar job as the plays' narrators.
The rest of the
cast included Alexus White as Abigail; Hannah Beatty, who played Scrooge
as a young boy; Collette Budge as Mrs. Crachit; Shae-Lyne Beiersdorfer as
Mary Crachit; Sophia Hullin as Grace Crachit; Biz MacDonald as Bertha Bumble;
Sam MacDonals as Agatha; Elyse Gauthier as the paper boy and Madison Bellini
as Tiny Tim.
Elyse Gauthier and Sophia Hullin did douible duty in the chorus which also
included Alex Wells-McGregor, Emily Lebel, Rebecca Lebel, Hannah Decker
and Caleb Budge-Bolduc.
was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local
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