This is a reprint of my remarks about “A Christmas Carol” at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater presented in the historic Pabst Theater during the 2018 – 2019 season. This originally appeared on my Facebook timeline on December 1, 2018!
It’s the 43rd Season for the Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s A Christmas Carol…once again lovingly presented at the Pabst Theater. And I haven’t seen it since my son was a child and I don’t remember that version particularly. But yes, this one is bigger than life, bigger than death, overdone, overplayed, overacted, overaccented, overemoted, totally over the top and all of us loved every minute of it. Jonathan Wainwright is incredible and credible as Ebenezer Scrooge…I can’t imagine anyone else doing it after seeing him perform last night. If he gets tired, I’d be willing to take over the role of Charles Dickens for him at the play intro. Other standouts in my eye were Jesse Bhamrah as Scrooge’s nephew, Debra Staples as the Ghost of Christmas Past and Mark Corkins as the Ghost of Marley. It was a particular thrill to hear and recognize the voices of two of my favorites, Ms. Staples and Mr. Corkins, before I recognized their faces in their costumes. It was wonderful to see you both again! And how can A Christmas Carol go wrong by performing my favorite Christmas carol, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen!
But the real star is the set! It moves from street scene to office scene to street scene to bedroom scene to street scene and of course to all of the Christmases past, present and future. It is amazing. And the heroes that help make the set work is the lighting crew. My goodness how the mood moves and changes as the scenes shift and the play progresses through Scrooge’s transformation. Love it!!
I do have one quibble…I invented the word overaccented above. All of the characters speak in Dickensian period English. And 90% of the time that’s not an issue. But during the Christmas Future portion, a couple of cast members were unintelligible to me and I wasn’t that far from the stage in the orchestra seating. Partly garbled and partly too softly spoken…Scrooge was hearing it and he wasn’t happy…I wanted to hear it too!
This is truly a family event…the youngsters sitting in front of me were enjoying it more than I was…so take your family! And I will be a shill here…don’t wait to get tickets…particularly if you want Friday or Saturday night seats!!