As a huge fan of Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol", I was looking forward with heightened anticipation to the Ottawa School of Theatre's production of the holiday classic at the Shenkman Arts Centre on this weekend.
|Ian Stauffer played Ebenezer Scrooge and Randy Bellini played the ghost of Jacob Marley in the Ottawa School of Theatre production of 'A Christmaas Carol'. FRED SHERWIN PHOTO
For the most part, the production stayed true to Dickens' original tale of Ebenezer Scrooge and his transformation from a bitter old miser into a kinder, more generous human being with the assistance of three spirits representing Christmases Past, Present and Future.
Scrooge was played brilliantly by Ian Stauffer while the spirits of Christmases Past, Present and Future were played by Addison Braham, Evan Simcoe, Tim Goernert and Sam MacDonald. Braham and Simcoe played the dual role of Christmas Past.
Goernert was a standout as the Ghost of Christmas present, as was Ottawa School of Theatre veteran Randy Bellini who played Scrooge's former partner Jacob Marley.
|The cast of the Ottawa School of Theatre production of 'A Christmaas Carol' give a cheer at the end of their performance on Friday night. FRED SHERWIN PHOTO
Due to time constraints, the director, Erin MacDonald, had to scale back the theatrical telling of Dickens' work from the feature length versions most people are familiar with.
To do so the class had to limit the role of Scrooge's clerk Bob Cratchit and the look into Christmases past left out the death of Scrooge's sister Fan while giving birth to her son Fred, which explains his apparent disdain for his nephew in the early scenes of the production.
But the Ottawa School of Theatre production left in most of the pertinent moments in the book which have been burned into the psyche of fans like myself who have made viewing various on screen versions of "A Christmas Carol" an annual tradition.
My own personal bias is toward the 1951 version staring Alastair Sim.
The scene when various members of Scrooge's household come to a broker to sell his personal items, including his bed curtains and night shirt, is one of my favourites as is the scene when Scrooge compliments his maid and gives the startled woman a raise and a kiss on the cheek which elicits a scream both in terror and delight.
The other scene the OST company pulled off incredibly well is the closing scene when Crachit shows up late for work on the day after Christmas and instead of being admonished for his tardiness, Scrooge gives him a raise.
Of course no production of "A Christmas Carol" would be complete without Tiny Tim proclaiming the line "God Bless us everyone".
Besides the actors themselves, the other stars of the OST production were the costumes, many of which come from OST's own collection and put together by Biz MacDonald with some handmade accessories. Several of the hats were furnished by Vintage Stock Theatre.
The Ottawa School of Theatre production of "A Christmas Carol" continues today and tomorrow with mantinee performances at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children and are available at the door.