TR Robertson ….Award winning director Sean Murray, who also adapted and provided lyrics for the Charles Dickens novella, once again brings this timeless classic story to the stage at Old Town’s Cygnet Theatre for the holiday season. Cygnet Resident Artists composer Billy Thompson provided the score for the musical with Patrick Marion as the music director/pianist. Katie Whalley Bannville, also a Cygnet Resident Artist, was the choreographer. Dickens 1843 novella has appeared in both movie and television versions. The original story was meant to stir citizens of Britain to the atrocities of the class differences and conditions in their country. The tale has evolved into a story of change, hope and rediscovery people can go through if they truly believe in the spirit of Christmas.
Cygnet’s musical version features seven talented actors and actresses who appear in numerous roles throughout the musical. As a warm-up, audience attendees arriving early were treated to a series of Christmas songs highlighted by an audience sing-a-long to “The 12 Days of Christmas”. The tale of “A Christmas Carol” is a simple one. Ebenezer Scrooge, played impressively by Tom Stephenson, is a miserable man, bent on only making money and caring for no one. This is Stephenson’s third season playing Scrooge. He employs Bob Cratchit, played by Patrick McBride, who is barely getting by, financially, to support his small family. McBride is returning in the role of Cratchit. Scrooge will be visited by three ghosts who will each show him his past life and what could have been, his present life and the lives of those around him and his possible future and the future of those around him.
Photos by Ken Jaques
Playing his wife is Maggie Carney, also a Cygnet veteran. Playing Cratchit’s children are Charles Evans, Jr., Melissa Fernandes and Melinda Gilb. Gilb is returning as “A Christmas Carol” veteran, as is Fernandes and also returning for his third year is Charles Evans. It is obvious that this veteran cast has worked together many times as the musical flowed effortlessly from scene to scene. The actors not only had to play numerous parts, changing character quickly, but they also provided numerous sound effects both on and off stage. Along with this, several of the actors/actresses were in charge of hand puppets when children’s roles were needed, such as a British urchin or Tiny Tim. It would be hard to pick out a standout actor/actress as each of the seven had great stage presence, wonderful voices and did an amazing job of playing numerous roles. As an example, Melissa Fernandes had the roles of child, Christmas Past, Boy Scrooge, Belle, shopper, Martha Cratchit, young woman, urchin and caroler. Each actor/actress had similar assignments. David McBean was a most impressive and a little scary Jacob Marley (Scrooges former partner) and a majestic Christmas Present. This is another classic Christmas tale guaranteed to get you into the Christmas spirit.
Cygnet Theatre is located in Old Town at 4040 Twiggs Street. Tickets for “A Christmas Carol” can be purchased at www.cygnettheatre.com or call 619-337-1525. This production will run until December 24th.