Soulpepper touches Toronto audiences’ hearts with Dicken’s classic tale
Playing at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts in the Toronto Distillery District, A Christmas Carol will inject the holiday spirit of giving into the most cheapskate, grumpiest member of your family.
This Dickens classic is a heart-warming way to end 2016 with your little ones.
I knew the expression “Bah! Humbug!” but half-forgot the context. In this tale, Ebenezer Scrooge (Joseph Ziegler) is a miserly, money-loving businessman who hates to be wished a merry Christmas. Not only does he reject good cheer from strangers, but he’s inconsiderate to his poor, hard-working employee Bob Cratchit (Jordan Pettle), and Scrooge even refuses to have Christmas dinner with his well-meaning nephew Fred (Kawa Ada).
Scrooge gets spooked when the ghost of his dead friend and colleague Jacob Marley (John Jarvis) pays him a visit. Marley—who wears long and heavy chains that represent his own greed—warns him to avoid the same fate. Marley sends him three ghosts (all played by Jarvis) in an attempt to make him change his ways: the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Yet-To-Come.
Thanks to the Ghost of Christmas Past, Scrooge revisits his childhood and sees his dear sister Fan (Eponine Lee). He also goes to his young adulthood and sees his former girlfriend Belle (Krystin Pellerin), and kind and good-humoured boss Mr. Fezziwig (Kevin Bundy).
The Ghost of Christmas Present takes him to Fred’s party where friends are dancing, and to Cratchit’s modest home where his disabled son Tiny Tim (Cody Black) is happy but unwell. Then the Ghost of Christmas Yet-To-Come proves to be the most unsettling for Scrooge (no spoilers, though).
The floor was put to good use during A Christmas Carol. Jacob Marley’s ghost literally rose up out of the floor, making him seem all the more creepy. The floor also displayed the foreboding arrival times of the ghosts since it became a giant clock, thanks to clever lighting from above. The shadows on the floor also showed us the gloomy spot for Scrooge in the graveyard.
In terms of the costumes, while I found the ghost costumes to be too attention-getting and extravagant, I thought the other costumes were spot on. Tiny Tim’s simple outfit and the device he wore on his leg to indicate his disability seemed perfectly appropriate.
The acting was excellent, and this includes the fine performance of the four child actors. As for the adults, I appreciated the earnesty of Fred (Ada), as well as the playful banter between Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig (Bundy and Susan Henley).
All in all, this is a wonderful Christmas play for families seeking a well-executed classic. (If you want something remarkably over-the-top, see Sleeping Beauty.)
Please note that if you do see this wonderful performance when the Christmas Market is open, there will be bustling crowds of people around the theatre that you’ll need to weave through.
- A Christmas Carol is playing at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts (10 Tank House Lane) in the Distillery District.
- The show runs until December 24 every day except Sunday.
- Showtimes are at 7:30 PM with some additional performances at 1:30 PM.
- Tickets start at $32 and can be purchased online or at the door.
- The approximate running time is 2 hours and there is one 20-minute intermission.
- When you are visiting the Young Centre during the Toronto Christmas Market, please enter the Distillery District via Cherry St. (Cherry St. and Tank House Lane) to bypass the Market lines. Soulpepper audiences enjoy free admission any time with use of the Cherry Street entrance.
Photo provided by the company