A Christmas Carol Returns To The Fabulous Fox

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A Christmas Carol at the Fox Theatre Dec. 14-17, 2017.

Back in 2013 I reviewed the Nebraska Theatre Caravan‘s production of A Christmas Carol and thoroughly enjoyed it. Four years later I revisited the show, and found it to be a bit underwhelming.

The performance is technically fine, and doesn’t stray from the tried and true formula of Scrooge being a grumpy miser, being visited by his late business partner who heralds the arrival of the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present ,and Yet to Come before Scrooge realizes how miserable he’s been to everybody  and set s out to make amends. The sets are functional, and some are particularly nice, such as the town square shops in the opening sequence. The costumes are excellent throughout.

Unfortunately my issue with this particular run is with old Ebenezer himself, played by Andy Harvey. To me, Scrooge is inscrutably sour, but not vocally off-putting. Mr. Harvey’s deep-as-the-grave baritone and diction reminded me of the great Christopher Lee, which is equal parts compliment and criticism. I don’t think I’d want to see Christopher Lee playing Scrooge either. The first act, which felt a little overlong, had me wondering if Mr. Harvey’s sinister register wasn’t being dubbed over or unnecessarily deepened at the soundboard-at times there seemed to be a little feedback coming over the speakers.

The second act, conversely, felt a little rushed. Scrooge seemed soften early, sounding less like an evil wizard and more like the actor who played Punky Brewster’s dad. Mr. Harvey’s Scrooge became more doddering, mumbling as he stumbled through the tableau of his life drunk on the milk of human kindness. He reminded me more of the old animated Mr. Magoo version of Scrooge than the more serious George C. Scott version. Scrooge’s transformation seemed more a matter of “Oh boy, look at the time,” than a genuine movement of remorse.  The surrounding cast, particularly Andy Brown (Bob Cratchit), Ben Wolford (Fred, Scrooge’s perpetually cheerful nephew), Sasha Denenberg (Tiny Tim), Anna Segatti (Mrs. Cratchit) and Blake Fountain (Ghost of Christmas Present), were quite fine.

Of course, these quibbles of mine may be a matter of my becoming more and more a Scrooge myself. If you attend their short run at the Fox Theatre, I do hope you thoroughly enjoy it. 

3.5 / 5.0