Tri-State Theater

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Saturday, November 21, 2015

"A Christmas Carol" - A Review

   Like most of you who have seen lots of theatre, I've seen Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol many, many times - but I've never seen a better production than the one Marshall University is staging this weekend (in fact, the last performance is tonight at 7:30 p.m.)!

   It combines a top-notch cast with the kind of amazing stagecraft that MU has down to a science.

   The story, of course, introduces us to the classic skinflint, Ebenezer Scrooge, who faces his own past, present and future - and gets one last chance to learn the true meaning of Christmas.

   A successful production starts with the casting, and you could hardly do better than to cast Jack Cirillo in the lead. A terrific actor who revels in Scrooge's flinty attitudes, he manages to work in some moments of levity (all at Scrooge's expense) and even tenderness - all while being delightfully wicked. He's perfect in the role!

   The spirits who "haunt" Scrooge include Mary Poindexter Williams as the Ghost of Christmas Past, and Clint McElroy in the roles of both the spirit of Scrooge's dead partner, Marley, and the Ghost of Christmas Present.

   The cast is terrific, providing a steady stream of characters, relatives, foils and carolers that keep the story moving at top speed.

   But one of the unsung heroes of the show is the stage design and technical work. The stunning set is designed on a rotating stage, allowing lightning-quick scene changes. That, combined with the unique lighting, sound effects, music and fog, immerse the audience into the world of Scrooge, the Cratchits and London's street life.

    The story is a classic for good reason - I defy anyone to watch it and not feel the true spirit of Christmas touching your heart.

   The members of Marshall's Theatre Department (and director Nicole Perrone) have crafted an amazing production here - not to be missed!


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