Published December 3, 2019 | By Adrienne Proctor
A central theme of Charles Dickens’ 1843 novella A Christmas Carol is honoring Christmas. Not just during the holiday season, but year-round. Shortly after the publication of the famous novella, it was adapted for the stage and began its first production run in 1844. The Victorian Era story of miserly Ebenezer Scrooge and the transformation he undergoes one fateful Christmas Eve is ubiquitous during the holiday season. Lyric Theatre’s adaptation by Producing Artistic Director Michael Baron is now in its ninth consecutive year, and it’s a story that is beautifully produced and eloquently told at Lyric’s Plaza Theatre.
Dirk Lumbard returns in his fourth consecutive production to play Scrooge. He’s dark and menacing early on in the show, a grumbling and angry man. He doesn’t stop working to celebrate Christmas Eve or even to mourn the anniversary of the loss of his business partner Jacob Marley.
Scrooge’s employee Bob Cratchit is portrayed by Charlie Monnot. Monnot’s performance is endearing. This character is the epitome of good-hearted. He works for the meanest man in literary history and yet still carries hope in his heart and Christmas cheer in his step. Monnot’s so pleasant and upbeat, and his Bob Cratchit is happy beyond his circumstances.
Natalya Fisher is glorious as the Ghost of Christmas Past, sweeping in on the fly rail in a dazzling display of Holiday Cheer. She floats and flies in a rather lengthy scene, and the athleticism she displays is impressive. She makes being strapped to the ceiling look not only easy but rather fun, and with her twinkling voice and angelic costume, she’s a weightless, sparkling spirit.
Quite jovial indeed is Mateja Govich as the Ghost of Christmas Present. Govich is nearly unrecognizable in this scene, and when he pops up in several other scenes throughout the show, the audience is none the wiser. Govich is simply delightful, cheery and warm, living in the moment as the youngest and most short-lived spirit. He only lasts for the Christmas at hand, and his presence serves to remind Scrooge how important it is to enjoy life while you have it. It’s a good reminder to the audience, too.
Thomas E. Cunningham undergoes several transformative moments as the ghost of Jacob Marley, Mr. Fezziwig, and Old Joe. Cunningham is multifaceted, frightening as Marley and nearly clown-like as Fezziwig. The dance scene at Fezziwig’s Christmas party is a highlight of the show.
Andi Dema is wonderful as Scrooge’s nephew Fred. He’s the only one who still holds a candle for his uncle, and Dema is compassionate, even seeming to worry for Scrooge. Matthew Alvin Brown is Topper, a quirky bachelor who can’t handle the affections of Susan Riley as Fred’s cute, flirtatious sister in law. Lexi Windsor is Belle, the former love that Scrooge lets slip away, and it’s his loss.
Nakeisha McGee is sweet and perfect as Mrs. Cratchit. McGee and Monnot together make a loving family unit, and they stand to suffer the most from Scrooge’s greed. Their little Tiny Tim’s health is declining, and if Scrooge doesn’t change his ways, Tiny Tim will surely die. Caedmon Glossup is Tiny Tim, and he is an engaging and terrific young actor! The Holly Cast also features Gracie Boyd as Belinda, Jamaal Jackson as Peter/Boy Scrooge, Jonathon Lewis as Turkey Boy/School Boy, Lexi Sendall as Martha, and Sydney Starr as Fan.
It’s here that Scrooge starts to see the error of his ways. Lumbard is an astute actor, and his change of heart is insightful and profound. Scrooge goes from being a horrible, ungrateful man to a happy, thankful, joyful old chap. It’s truly uplifting, and although the show is dark and even scary at times, it leaves you with a certain gratitude in your heart. Lyric’s A Christmas Carol provides audiences a much-needed reminder- to keep Christmas in our hearts and honor it all year long.