A Christmas Carol
Based on a story by Charles Dickens
Adapted by Jim Helsinger
Directed by Kristen Clippard
Starring Steven Patterson, Jim Sorensen, Paul Bernardo and Laura Hodos
Let’s get the plot out of the way; we all know it by heart. Cue poverty, accounting, tight-ass boss, exploited worker, ghosts, money, figgy pudding, fear of the future, redemption, the giant goose off redemption. We’ve seen the tale a dozen times, but this time it’s attacked with every clever stage trick the Orlando Shakes folks can pull out of their holiday bag of big budget theater. An ensemble cast doubles, triples and quadruples all the roles, and while positions shift faster than I-4 off ramps, it’s never unclear who’s who and what’s what.
Adaptor Helsinger assumes an intelligent audience only need minimal clues as to who is anyone tonight, and this speeds things along. Mr. Bernardo does a fine job as the G of Xmas Present, as well as the shady eBay flipper Old Joe. Happy Andrew Hansen pokes at old Scrooge and keeps the faith he will reforms while Ms. Hodos covers the female fund raiser and dedicated Mrs. Cratchit cooking her famous “Bowler Hat Christmas Pudding.” And our Scrooge (Patterson) remined me of an old “Boss From Hell” I worked for so many Christmas’s ago.
This is a tech heavy show; there’s enough fog to shut down an airport and the show makes clever use the lifts and traps in the Margeson. I was taken by the G of Xmas Future; it loomed and threatened without making a sound. Yeah, it’s the moneymaker of the season, but this adaptation hits all the right buttons of showy technical work and solid dramatic tension and resolution. If you need your heart warmed, here’s the SFX fire to heat it up.