|Photo by David Sprague|
Book, Music & Lyrics by Katrina Wood
Based on "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens
Secret Rose Theatre
(11246 Magnolia Boulevard, North Hollywood)
Date of reviewed performance: December 10, 2011
Ebenezer Scrooge - Chas Mitchell
Bob Cratchit - Foster Walker
Nell - Emily Bridges
Marley's Ghost - Jim Cox
Ghost of Christmas Past, Mr. Fezzywig - Billy Giampaolo
Ghost of Christmas Past, Norman the Ragpicker - Robert Keasler
Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, Mrs. Fezziwig - Jennifer Potell
Tiny Tim, Young Ebenezer Scrooge - Zachary Rice
Ghost of Christmas Present, Gladys the Ragpicker - Athena Rose
Mrs. Cratchit - Claudia Wit
Charles Dickens's classic fable has been “re-imagined” dozens, if not hundreds, of times over the years by everyone from church congregations to the Muppets. Every holiday season for the past 100 years, you can be sure that someone has promised a twist on the story of the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge and his overnight change of heart. So it is with this new musical version penned and produced by Katrina Wood. However, the promised “twists” in this incarnation are either barely identifiable or ridiculously absurd. Even the most familiar elements of the show fall somewhere between cringe-worthy and just plain dull.
The mostly-in-period production is narrated by Bob Cratchit (Foster Walker) and he promises us early on that though we’ve heard the tale many times, this time we’ll be getting his point of view. It turns out that Cratchit’s point of view is exactly like everyone else’s except that his “Ghost of Christmas Present” is inexplicably an 80’s punk rock chick from Liverpool (Athena Rose). The only other difference from this and every other “Christmas Carol” you’ve ever seen is that it is full of new music written specifically for this production. The songs aren’t great or memorable; many vocals are labored or difficult to hear period over the canned music.
The cast performs as if they are aware the show isn’t ready to be up yet. Claudia Wit is the lone stand-out with her solo late in the play as the angry and vengeful Mrs. Cratchit. Her focused and powerful rendering of a woman coming unhinged is the perfect illustration of what is missing from the rest of the show. Dickens was writing about loneliness, cruelty, torment and the power of redemption. It’s a message that gets lost amidst attempts at being clever here.
Bob Cratchit & Mr. Tightwad runs Frdays at 7:30pm December 16, 23 and 30, Saturday at 3:00pm December 17, Saturdays at 2:00pm December 24 and 31, Saturday at 7:30pm December 17, Sunday at 11:00am and 3:00pm December 18 and Thursdays at 7:30pm on December 22 and 29. Tickets are $20 (Seniors $15, Children under 13 $12). Tickets may be purchased at the door or online at www.cratchitmusical.com. For reservations and additional information call 800-838-3006.
Directed by Trace Oakley
Executive Producers: Katrina Wood and Art Wood
Artistic Producer: Barney D. Neeley
Musicial Director: Art Wood
Art Director: Aaron Glazer
Choreography by Colette Brandenburg
Stage Managers: Molly Hale, Joel Johnson and Stephanie Brown
Costume Designer: Taylor Moten