Volume 2, Issue 1 University of Houston
Bruce Bennett/Alley Theatre
Alley Theatre gets into the spirit of of the season with the production of A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas.
'Bah, humbug' begone
The Alley Theatre's version of A Christmas Carol won't lower your Christmas spirits
By Jake McKim
A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas is so timeless and inspiring that you would have to put on an incredibly shoddy production to leave audience members displeased.
The Alley Theatre's stage version of the popular Christmas tale isn't the best interpretation ever attempted, but it is good enough to demand your attention and leave those who paid money to see it feeling content.
For those of you who have been living in a cave your entire lives, here's a quick synopsis of the story: A grumpy old man named Ebenezer Scrooge resides in a generally upbeat town filled with people who love the holiday season.
Despite their often simple and lower-class lives, they find the utmost joy in celebrating Christmas with their family and friends.
Scrooge, a wealthy businessman, despises just about everything that has anything to do with Christmas. He forces employees to work on Christmas Day and goes ballistic when cheerful people pass by — hence the catch phrase "Bah, humbug!"
Eventually, Scrooge is visited by three "spirits," the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future, whose job it is to convince Scrooge he's far too mean and uncaring. They explain to him that if he doesn’t change in a hurry, he will be doomed to an eternity in purgatory, weighed down by chains and haunting others as a ghost himself.
The play, which is approximately two hours and 15 minutes in length, with a 15-minute intermission, introduces us to the usual captivating cast of characters including favorites such as Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim, Jacob Marley, Scrooge and the three ghosts.
Where A Christmas Carol truly shines is in its costumes, scenery and overall production.
The elaborate, decorative wardrobes of the three spirits are breathtaking and innovative. The ghost of Christmas Future is unforgettable, towering above the audience and resembling something out of a modern-day horror flick.
While no one actor stands out as being individually notable, the cast, consisting of frequent returnees and newcomers from the Alley company, makes this a solid presentation.
James Black plays Scrooge convincingly. Watching his transformation through a wide range of emotions — from being angry at the world to fear of the ghosts to his realization that he can make everyone else happy by simply being happy himself — keeps the story interesting.
The cast is also filled with children, some of whom look like future stars. They brighten the stage with their light-hearted, buoyant spirits and keep the show fresh when the play gets bogged down by the older cast members.
For those who love the Christmas season and all its traditions, A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas is the perfect holiday treat.
Ticket prices range from $35 to $49 and are available at the Alley Theatre Box Office, 615 Texas Avenue, or by calling (713) 228-8421. Discount coupons for $5 off the full ticket price to select performances are available at all Kroger locations, James Coney Island and Blimpie.
Discount rates are also available for groups of 10 or more by calling the Alley Theatre Group Sales Department at (713) 228-9341, ext. 350. Tickets may also be purchased at all TicketMaster locations including Fiesta, Foley's and Kroger, or may be purchased by phone at (713) 629-3700 or online at www.ticketmaster.com.
The show runs every day through Dec. 30, with performances
at 7:30 p.m. and matinees at 2:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
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