Joyce and I have seen every version of Trinity Rep’s “A Christmas Carol” over the past 42 years, and every one has been different. But not as different as this year’s version, directed by Kate Bergstrom. It opens with a bang (literally) and closes with a lively rendition of “Joy to the World.”
It transitions nicely from dark to light, includes a divergent cast, including a blended family; a niece instead of a nephew, who is in an alternative relationship; the cutest, liveliest cast of kids (there are alternating casts); and as good a Scrooge as we’ve ever seen.
Performed in the round in the upstairs Chace Theatre, the cast includes a handful of Trinity regulars, plus some very promising members of the MFA Brown/Trinity Rep Conservatory.
Jude Sandy joined the company three years ago, dazzling audiences with his performances in everything from “Little Shop of Horrors” to “To Kill a Mockingbird.” His interpretation of Ebenezer Scrooge, helped by some terrific makeup, puts him at the top of the list of very accomplished actors who have played the coveted roll.
The two-act play with music has literally been turned into a full-fledged musical, with Rachel Warren’s beautiful voice leading the pack and a fabulous production number that brought down the house.
While a ghost doesn’t fly down from the rafters this year, A.J. Baldwin’s Ghost of Christmas Past hovers over the action with Scrooge in his four-poster bed.
Trinity has made a good decision in cooking up the old chestnut without changing the message. It is still a tale of redemption that can be enjoyed by people of all ages (although the very young children might get scared at the dark beginning).
Put “A Christmas Carol” on your list of must-do’s this season. You will be thoroughly entertained and inspired.
“A Christmas Carol” plays through December 29. Call 351-4242 for reservations.