The show was fantastic to begin with. The John W. Engeman Theatre's retelling of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol has a refreshing taste to the classic favorite. Directed by Mark Adam Rampmeyer and adapted by Michael Wilson, this production runs through January 6th at the beautiful Northport theatre.
As we all know, this tale follows crotchety Ebenezer Scrooge through his past, present, and future to find the Christmas spirit and start being kinder and more forgiving to others. Wilbur Edwin Henry made a great Scrooge, but he could have been more cantankerous. At some points it was as if he was going through the motions and not as mean as one would envision Scrooge.
The tale we're familiar with, set in 19th century London, shows many people poor and in desperate need of financial help. They look to Scrooge's business for financial assistance, but he is VERY insistent on the people making good on their loans. His late business partner, Jacob Marley, portrayed by Kenneth Boys, haunts him stating he is going to be visited by ghostly spirits or face the same horrible fate he has encountered in his death. In this version of the story, we meet a Doll Vendor, portrayed by Barbara Marineau, a Fruit and Cider vendor, portrayed by Michael James Leslie, and a Watch Vendor, portrayed by Jason Liles. These three end up being the ghosts that haunt Scrooge. This was a fantastic move, as this is not the way it is typically done. It is like saying "what goes around, comes around" which put a more powerful spin on Scrooge's revelations at the end of the two act play.
I dare to say they also put a little bit of a spookier spin in the acting choices. These were good choices, mind you. From chilling laughs to kids in tattered clothes and ghostly make-up, the whole production you could tell was well thought through.
When it comes to Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, you may think that if you've seen the show once, you've seen them all. That is not the case with the Engeman's production. While some love the traditional telling, this production breathes new life into the timely tale.
A Christmas Carol is presented by the Engeman Theatre of Northport, Long Island through January 6th, 2013. By Charles Dickens, Directed by Mark Adam Rampmeyer, Adapted by Michael Wilson, Musical Direction by Jen Roller, Choreography by Wendy Seyb, Scenic Design by Jon Collins, Costume Design by Ryan J. Moller, Lighting Design by Cory Pattak, Sound Design by Craig Kaufman, Hair and Make-Up design by Brendalyn Fulton, Casting by Stephen DeAngelis, Production Stage Manager is Michelle Lynn Hines. For more information and to purchase tickets, please call (631) 261-2900 or visit www.engemantheater.com.