If you ask me…

- Tom Holehan

Holiday Plays -- A Christmas Carol

A few blocks from TheaterWorks, Hartford Stage returns with its 18th annual presentation of Charles Dickens’ classic, “A Christmas Carol”. Adapted by former Artistic Director Michael Wilson in 1997, it was a real pleasure to rediscover the pleasures of this lovely, haunting production which has only become more beautiful, adventurous and technically assured in the passing years. Best of all Bill Raymond, who has played the leading role of Ebenezer Scrooge for 16 of the 18 years, is back better than ever injecting sly humor and great physical dexterity into the old man. Noble Shropshire, deliciously channeling both Monty Python and Mrs. Danvers from “Rebecca”, plays Scrooge’s ornery housekeeper with wicked glee as well as the ghostly Jacob Marley whose haunting of Scrooge is a stage highlight.

The lavish costuming by Alejo Vietti and Zack Brown, gorgeous settings (Tony Straiges), expert flying effects (ZFX, Inc), moody lighting (Robert Wierzel) and original music and sound design (John Gromada) are as welcome as that Christmas goose on the Cratchit dinner table. This is a sterling rendition of Dickens’ timeless work that one hopes will continue at Hartford Stage for years to come.

“A Christmas Carol” continues at Hartford Stage through December 28. For further information and ticket reservations, call the theatre box office at 860.527.5151 or visit: www.hartfordstage.org.

Tom Holehan is one of the original founders of the Connecticut Critics Circle, a frequent contributor to WPKN Radio’s “State of the Arts” program and Artistic Director of Stratford’s Square One Theatre Company. He welcomes comments at: tholehan@yahoo.com. His reviews and other theatre information can be found on the Connecticut Critics Circle website: www.ctcritics.org.

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