“A Christmas Carol”


Reviewed by Gayle Bartos-Pool

The Sierra Madre Playhouse is presenting a new adaptation of A Christmas Carol this season. It is Dickens’s wonderful story, but Director Christina Harris’s interpretation is deeper and more soul searching than many versions as we follow Scrooge through his gloomy past and see how he became the miser we all recognize. Her direction with its innovative touches brings the original tale to life beautifully.

Scott Harris has the role of Scrooge. This reviewer has never seen a Scrooge get so emotionally involved with what he was watching from his own past. It was actually captivating and oft times riveting.

Tim Stafford played the determined nephew Fred who wouldn’t give up on wishing his equally resolute uncle a Merry Christmas. Stafford also played the Ghost of Christmas Future and the character John. 

Anthony Bravo and Marlee Candell were the Cratchits, played with heart-wrenching concern for their lame son. 

Many in the supporting cast took on multiple roles which kept the story moving along with joy in the lively dance numbers and pathos during the looks back into Scrooge’s past. And the musical numbers were often done acappela. Musical Director Rich Dembowski did a terrific job. 

The Sierra Madre Playhouse is famous for its innovative sets and this production doesn’t disappoint. There were many scene changes and Set Designer John Vertrees captured the essence of each one with minimum props for maximum effect. 

And the costumes…the costumes. Ye Olde London was alive with gorgeous costumes on the wealthy as well as magnificent rags on the poor. The Ghost of Christmas Past was glorious, but the pièce de résistance was the Ghost Christmas Future. His costume was stunning and worth the price of admission alone. Liz Peterson outdid herself as Costume Designer.

The play is a classic and this production keeps up the holiday tradition magnificently.

The play runs through December 23, 2013. http://sierramadreplayhouse.org  Phone: (626) 355-4318.