Some of the most cherished moments of my childhood were story times with my mom. During those times with the turn of a page, the walls would disappear and voila! Me and my sisters were on a V.I.P. thrill ride of adventure. We got to visit exclusive faraway lands, mingle with the coolest characters known to mankind and wear some of the finest garb. The price of admission didn’t break our pockets either. All that was needed was the words on the page, my mother’s enthusiastic reading and the vibrant canvases of our imagination.
As you sift through the countless shows to see this holiday season, do not leave Dream Theatre Company’s “A Christmas Carol: An Evening of Dickensian Delights,” off your list. I couldn’t help but be nostalgic for my childhood while sitting in this play. A barebones production that packs a lot of punch, this adaptation of the timeless tale is told through only three actors. We go on the journey of Scrooge’s (Nick Ferrin) past, present and future, which in return makes him evaluate his life and exchange his cynicism for Christmas spirit. Scrooge’s journey is illuminated by two narrators—Rachel Martindale and Joe Kloehn—who also double as the myriad faces we meet along the way.
In the director’s notes, Martindale, who is also the adapter, speaks about how “contemporary performances seemed to be more about elaborate costumes, magnificent set changes, huge casts of dancing children and fog machines… at the expense of the story itself.” None of that—aside from the story—is present in this production.
Martindale instead opts for a simplistic yet powerful staging of the classic tale. It is this bold choice amidst the grandiose stagings of this story that proves that an eager imagination, effective storytelling and Dickens’ own vivid language, are really the only ingredients needed to be transported on this adventure.
The ensemble cast of Ferrin, Kloehn and Martindale are a pure delight for the full eighty minutes. Their performances are equally heartfelt and exciting with a dash of humor. Adding to the experience, the intimate space, lovely holiday treats and warm cider given upon your arrival guarantee a festive time. (Loy Webb).
Dream Theatre Company, 5026 North Lincoln, (773)552-8616, dreamtheatrecompany.com. $10-$20. Through December 21.