'Christmas Carol' returns to Colonial Players' theater

December 11, 1992|By Phil Greenfield | Phil Greenfield,Contributing Writer

After a hiatus in which the show moved to the now defunc Annapolis Dinner Theater, "A Christmas Carol," a seasonal smash in Maryland's capital, has returned to its original home at the Colonial Players of Annapolis' theater on East Street.

On the whole, audiences ought to come away well pleased by the return of the Dick Gessner, Rick Wade adaptation of Charles Dickens' immortal story.

After all, who can resist the glitter of a familiar old ornament that hangs in the same place of honor on the tree each year?

CP's 1992 incarnation is highlighted by a wonderful Scrooge turned in by David Harper, a talented character actor who gives the old reprobate a feisty, energetic reading that makes literature's most beloved "born again" experience come alive with renewed charm and excitement.

Audiences also will enjoy Katry Parr's lovely portrayal of Belle, Scrooge's young fiancee who dumps Ebenezer as materialism overcomes his better nature. Also admirable are the personable Ghost of Christmas Present, an excellent trio of scavengers in "One Last Funeral," and the entire Cratchit family, who come off very nicely indeed, save for a screechy ending to their song "Bless Us All". The ensemble contributes attractively, especially in the opening caroling number.

There are, however some pits in the plumb pudding that might be removed before audiences find them tough to digest.

For some bizarre reason, Scrooge is denied the make-up and wig that would make him look his age. Such a distortion of character makes the entire interaction with his nephew, Fred, look silly as the uncle winds up looking younger than his dead sister's child. Go figure.

Nephew Fred and the Ghost of Christmas Past are under characterized, but it is Marley's all-important ghost who truly lets the side down. Surely he is the least intimidating specter seen in these parts since Casper dominated the Saturday morning airwaves. Faced with such a lack of ectoplasmic menace, old Ebenezer would have been fully justified in merely rolling over and going back to sleep.

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