It’s that time of year again, when Marley’s chains come clanking down from the attic. Jefferson Mays’ one-man Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (Nederlander Theatre, to Jan 1) takes in an intimidating total of 50 characters, and the story as you know it—the melting of Ebenezer Scrooge’s cold, cold heart—is fluently told by him. A Christmas Carol may be short, but it is so familiar and so well-known—with everyone having a favorite version (sorry Alastair Sim, it’s the Muppets Christmas Carol for me)—that finding a new way to present and tell it is a perennial challenge.
Playing both narrator and all the characters is no small feat—as reflected by the warm standing ovation for Mays the night this critic attended. But the magic of this production, adapted by Mays, Susan Lyons, and director Michael Arden, is down a lot to Laffrey’s stupendous stage design, which is a riot of trickery and surprises, Ben Stanton’s lighting, and Joshua D. Reid’s sound design.
This critic won’t ruin what is easily the best New York stage shock of the year, but it happens right at the beginning of A Christmas Carol—and freaked our audience out deliciously. Director Arden revels in as many visual wow moments he can stuff into a 90-minute show.
Source: The Daily Beast
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