Theater review: ‘A Christmas Carol, the Musical’ a holiday treat

Sure, you’ve seen about a zillion productions of “A Christmas Carol” and/or its endless iterations, but it’s the words “the Musical” in the name of Hillbarn Theatre’s current Christmas offering that sets it apart — and breathes new life into Dickens’ oft-told tale.

This is a kinder, gentler “Carol” than in many versions offered up during the holidays, and it has a kinder, gentler Scrooge than usually depicted. That’s partially due to the way the storyline is interpreted by director Dan Demers, but also by the persona of this particular Scrooge, Christopher Reber, who has a glint of eagerness in his eye to be redeemed as a lovable, charitable person. (He’s a darned good dancer to boot!)

When Broadway musical extravaganza veterans Alan Menken, Lynn Ahrens, Mike Ockrent and Susan Stroman put this version together in 1994, it was intended as a 90-minute production that would run at the Paramount Theatre in Madison Square Garden annually.

Over the years it was adapted into a Hallmark television production and only recently opened in London as a concert performance.

But Hillbarn’s show is perfectly tuned to the wants and needs of Peninsula children and their parents with its patina of happiness everywhere, wondrous stage effects, lots of cute kids, snow and some incredibly creative costumes and wigs. And, after a first act of an hour and 15 minutes, act two runs 25 minutes max.

Pamela Lampkin’s imaginative stamp seems to show up just about everywhere in “Carol.” She began work on its multitude of costumes last spring by drawing them in watercolors. Her 1840s street people wear drab, torn costumes to show the grit of London’s streets, while the well-to-do are outfitted in lush velvets and satins. She also uses paint to “distress” some of the newly sewn costumes to make them look old and …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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