“Are we our brother’s keeper?” That is a central question that has challenged Humankind for centuries. The well-known character Ebenezer Scrooge answers this profound question in the negative. “A Christmas Carol”, by Charles Dickens, and Directed and Adapted by William Dean Leary at St. John Evangelical Church in Riverdale, MD, is a journey through many spiritual and humanistic themes, with many spectacular and enjoyable musical sequences.
This story demands a dominant Scrooge, and it has one. Played with a commanding presence throughout, by Tim Jansen, Ebenezer Scrooge is the epitome of indifference, contempt and bluster. “My loyalty is to myself,” Scrooge believes.
Other vexing questions are raised throughout the show. Does “money bring security and power” as the young Scrooge tells his father? His father, played by the Rev. David K. North (also the Ghost of Christmas Present) responds that “money is a temporary solution” to life’s problems—a wise man, that.
And money and misguided ambition are central to this play. In this adaptation, the Cratchit family is so broke, due to the cost of Tiny Tim’s cancer treatments, they must live in a homeless shelter. This brings to mind the plight of real families who must choose between medicine and shelter.
The singing, directed by Lauren Giglio (Martha/Ghost of Christmas Past), was much more than professional grade. Vashti Gray Sadjedy (Pastor Charlotte) sang “What Child is This?” in a sweet, gentle voice. “Miracles Come True” by Joanna Matthews (Rachel Cratchit) was heavenly. Giglio’s majestic voice carried “I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day” to delightful heights. Dwayne Allen (Young Ebenezer Scrooge), recently seen in Leary’s “Forsaken Angels”, did a wonderful job singing “Ae Fine Kiss”. And “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” sang by the entire cast, was uplifting.
Fela Osimokun as Tiny Tim was fantastic in all of his scenes. Brigid Lally (Young Belle) brought strong emotions to her role as Scrooge’s fiancee, and the delightful Susan Smithers elevated every scene she was in as “older” Belle. Every cast member “brought it” and performed to their utmost; that is to say, DirectorScript Adapter William Dean Leary did what he always does—got the best out of his cast. Stephen Beitzell’s set design was well done. The lighting in the show was spot on.
This adaptation of “A Christmas Carol” is a must see for the entire family. It brings a fresh perspective to an old story. Be sure to make it part of your Christmas Holiday Season!
When you go:
For Tickets go to Wolf Pack Theatre Company’s ticket page
Tickets are $15 for adults and $9 for children
Thursday and Friday, December 17th and 18th at 8pm, and Saturday, December 19th at 3pm and 8pm
St. John Evangelical Church in 5820 Riverdale Road, Riverdale, MD
Tim Jansen as Scrooge, Lauren Giglio as Martha/Ghost of Christmas Past, David K. North as Andrew/Ghost of Christmas Present, Kevin Buter as Jacob Marley, Vashti Gray Sadjedy as Pastor Charlotte, Fela Osimokun as Tiny Tim, Dwayne Allen as Young Ebenezer Scrooge, Brigid Lally as Young Belle, Ladi Richards as Holly, Joanna Matthews as Rachel, Caitline Ann Chamberlain as Holly, Thomas Ogar as Edward, Emilee Schmidt as Joy Cratchitt, Wesley Schmidt as Brian, Samantha Roberts as Hope Cratchitt, Susan Smithers as Belle and Joshua Boulden as Bob Cratchitt