The Monroe County Civic Theatre’s production of "A Christmas Carol," is staged in a room of an insane asylum. Scrooge and the Cratchits are room mates. Scrooge’s ever cheerful nephew Fred, his employer from youth Fezziwig and his young love Belle are all nurses. His dead partner Marley drags chains of Christmas lights and wears a cheerfully decorated lampshade. In place of the ghostly visitors there’s a dancing chorus of four reindeer elves who lead Scrooge through his various Christmases. Tiny Tim is a sock puppet. It’s a little surreal, quite a bit absurd and often a lot of fun.
The center of the show is Hannah Moss. She’s a dynamo as the mostly blustering, sometimes fearful and eventually crazily enlightened Scrooge. Moss reminds me of an athletic Danny Devito. As Bob and Mrs. Cratchit, Bradley Good and Kerchanin Allen are fascinating as a sort of Beckett set of characters. The show’s pleasures owe a lot to the choreography by Erika Heidewald of the dancing and of the journeys.
Russell McGee’s adaptation uses mostly Charles Dickens’ familiar text. David Nosko is the director.
There are a few caveats. On opening night in the large space of Rhinos, the spoken dialog of the nurses was hard to pick out. I’d counsel sitting close. And, even if you are familiar with Dickens’ original, you may begin to lose the details of the thread of Scrooge’s enlightenment at about the third of the night’s visitations. However the story is still very much there and the finale well set and delightfully surprising.
The Monroe County Civic Theatre’s production of Charles Dickens’ "A Christmas Carol," continues in various spaces and venues. Wednesday at noon it’s in the Monroe County Courthouse Rotunda. Friday and Saturday nights at seven and Sunday at three they are at the Cinemat. Performances continue at the Bloomington Playwrights Project, the Monroe County Public Library and the Hilltop Restaurant in Spencer. Details are on our web site at WFIU dot ORG.