This year, the Gateway Theatre holiday season takes a slightly darker tone as A Christmas Carol finds the Christmas spirit, or in this case four spirits. It’s hard to tinker with a tale as familiar as Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol, but this adaptation by Michael Shamata, directed by Rachel Peake, trims the play into a show that’s manageable for all ages and focuses on the ensemble and core spirit of the work. All members of the creative team mention how they feel the play’s message of finding and sharing good with your fellow man is especially needed in these current times.
Allan Morgan begins the play as narrator, talking directly to the audience to set the stage for what is to come, and has led to the moment we meet Russell Roberts’ Ebenezer Scrooge and Adam Olgui’s Bob Cratchit at work on Christmas Eve. While the supporting characters are present, Peake has centred the production on the ghost story, and the message the spirits bring to Scrooge, starting with the eerie ghost of Jacob Marley bringing a warning to Scrooge of continuing his secluded, miserly way of life. The simple staging by Drew Facey allows the audience to fill in the blanks as the ghosts take Scrooge from his past to present and future.
The Gateway Theatre holiday show often serves as a mentorship to up and coming actors and stage crew. This production includes five members from the acting program at Langara College’s Studio 58, all playing multiple roles alongside the seasoned, professional players. At just 110 minutes, including intermission, the production is compact and conveys the spirit of the Holiday favourite in a way that the whole family can enjoy.
A Christmas Carol is onstage at Gateway theatre in Richmond until December 24th. For Information and Tickets visit gatewaytheatre.com/achristmascarol