Review: A Christmas Carol (Three Ships Collective)

A site-specific production of Dickens’ classic play is on at Toronto’s Campbell House Museum

What would Christmas be without A Christmas Carol? With multiple renditions happening around the city every year, The Three Ships Collective with the support of Soup Can Theatre, present a site-specific adaptation of the Charles Dickens’ classic novel. Taking place at the historic Cambell House, the audience follows the Victorian-era penny-pincher, Ebenezer Scrooge, room to room as you watch his story of self-redemption courtesy of apparitions of Christmas past, present and future.

Built in 1822, the Campbell House brings the classic tale to life in a house built within the same era. The timely and charming decor of the house makes for an evening in itself. Being a site-specific work, the production is very mobile, moving the audience from room to room, and floor to floor, generally in close quarters with little-seated space. Audience members stand for a majority of the show. There were quite a few moments where I was unable to see the main actors, although this did not bother me as I was able to look around at the beautiful Campell House. However, I mention this as a warning to audience members who may be less interested in or capable of this type of performance.

Although it was nice to see the different rooms of the house, I feel there might have been a little too much moving of room to room, at times ascending multiple floors for short scenes. That being said, the audience movement was well organized by the cast, humorously being called to follow along with an eery glare and finger wave by Jacob Marley (Christopher Fowler).

The show was well cast, with many standout performers in both acting and singing. Violinist Amy Marie Wallace played delightful music during travelling stints and a party scene in which the cast takes turns singing, dancing and making Victorian-era farse. Many cast members juggle multiple characters seamlessly. Tiffany Martin, playing three separate roles was exceptional in transitions between her cheeky, youthful characters to contrastingly chilling and silent apparitions. Young Chloe Bradt plays Tiny Tim and Little Scrooge, both roles pulling at your heartstrings, as the characters usually do.

I would recommend seeing the show to get into the Christmas spirit; however, it seems to have already sold out its run, showing how hungry Toronto is for its yearly dose of the classic tale. I enjoyed the immersive site-specific aspect of the work and would love to see this as an annual addition to the Campbell House’s programming.

Details:

  • A Christmas Carol is playing at the Campbell House (160 Queen St W, Toronto).
  • The show runs till Saturday, December 22, with performances at 7:00 pm and 9:00 pm from Monday to Saturday and 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm on Sunday.
  • Tickets prices range from $20 – $30.
  • Tickets are available online. 

    Photo by Graham Isador.