It’s that time of year! Ok, maybe it’s a little early for some of you. Whether you are ready or not, a much loved tradition, A Christmas Carol is here! And it’s coming to in the capable hands of the Geffen Playhouse. It’s the story you know and love but it’s coming to you in unique form.
I can feel the panic already. However, ACC enthusiasts have no reason to sweat. The Geffen does, indeed, introduce us to a new adaptation (Jefferson Mays, Susan Lyons and Michael Arden). It’s a world premiere, actually. But the story is still intact and you may be interested to know that the adaptation is based on the edited version Charles Dickens used for his own public performances. I can hear the sigh of relief over here.
Because there is no surprise in the basic plot… you know, the mean ‘ole Christmas hating Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by 3 spirits on Christmas Eve, the ghost of Christmas past, present and future, leaving his perspective and priorities changed for the better. Much better. After a hard, cold look at his life, he comes to know the true meaning of Christmas and decides to live it out through the year. So what is the surprise? The story is delivered by one man. It’s a one man show. Tony award winning Jefferson Mays is the one given the heavy task and he succeeds, wildly. By the way, he doesn’t just tell the story. He takes on close to 50 characters. He’s smooth, committed and convincing. It’s a feat to behold.
It doesn’t hurt that Tony award nominated Michael Arden was tapped for the role of director. I’m beginning to think the powers-that-be wanted a guaranteed grand slam with this show. It’s 90 minutes with no intermission and you’ll be riveted, even if you’ve seen some version of it every year for the last 60 years.
The final tidbit to share, and possibly the single reason this show is the perfection it is (no, I haven’t forgotten the Tony award winning performer and Tony nominated director) the stagecraft is astonishing. Coming from me, that is quite a statement. I’m not a big fan of super sets and disco lights. I can really appreciate simple stagecraft, a good story and incredible acting. This show has an outrageous set, sound effects, lighting, projected images… everything. It has everything. And all together, it forms a magical recipe for a really, really great show. I’d like to give some props (no pun intended)-
Scenic & Costume Designer: Dane Laffrey, Sound Designer: Joshua D. Reid, Lighting Designer: Ben Stanton, Projection Designer: Lucy Mackinnon. And ladies and gentleman, I want to meet Stage Manager, Ross Jackson, because I can’t even imagine how hard it must be to call this show. There must be hundreds of cues and they all come together to deliver a beautiful show all the way around.
It’s an inspiring time of year. If you are a theatre enthusiast, this show will stir your artistic soul. This is theatre at its finest. Watch George C. Scott when you get around to it, but don’t miss this special version of A Christmas Carol. I’d bet Dickens, himself, would be proud.
A Christmas Carol
10886 Le Conte Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Tuesdays-Fridays 8PM, Saturdays 3PM & 8PM, Sundays 2PM & 7PM.
Thru: Dec 9
price: $30-$120 (and on discount websites)
http://geffenplayhouse.org or 310.208.5454
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