|Perfect night at the Big G.|
Walking into the theater, I was immediately struck by the beauty of the set. A Victorian London street, two-story buildings, frosted shop windows, and artistic drifts of snow on the stage all made me wonder if the theater ever offers photo ops on stage. Wouldn't that make a great Christmas card?
When the impressive set (designed by Walt Spangler) opened up to show the two-story interior of Scrooge's house, I was delighted. It's amazing to see a theater with world-class resources use them so wonderfully. Every single aspect of this production is top-notch, from set, lights and sound, costumes, wigs and the amazing cast.
|J.C. Cutler (Ebenezer Scrooge) and Robert O. Berdahl (Jacob Marley). |
Photos by Dan Norman.
The story itself is as classic as ever. Crispin Whittell's script includes all the classic lines you expect to hear, without making them sound hackneyed. The cast makes the most familiar and even ridiculous-seeming characters feel like real people. The cast-sung interludes of classic carols range from heartbreakingly plaintive to joyful (and triumphant. Whaaaaaat!).
|Scrooge in a rare moment of frivolity.|
J.C. Cutler is a perfectly unpleasant Scrooge from the start. Robert O. Berdahl is a terror as Jacob Marley, with a Medusa-like wig. Though they are not specifically noted in the program, the Guthrie's wig shop does a great job as usual, particularly in helping the actors to distinguish between the multiple characters they portray. And the costumes, by Mathew J. LeFebvre, are gorgeous, particularly The Ghost of Christmas Past, which Tracey Maloney wore to death.
Scrooge's bird's-eye-view of his life is touching, funny, and heartwarming. At the end of the play, it feels like a benediction not just on the world of the play, but on all of us, when Tiny Tim says, "God bless us, everyone!" And I begin to understand why people revisit it year after year.
It's truly a gift to sit in a packed theater with so many families and children, and to hear and feel the appreciation the audience has for the spectacle--and for theater.