WASHINGTON TERRACE — Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol is, for most people, the quintessential Christmas story. As is tradition at Beverly’s Terrace Plaza Playhouse, an adaptation of A Christmas Carol, called Scrooge, has been performed during the end of November and throughout all of December for close to 30 years (with a break last year of course because of Covid). With some a mix of familiar and unfamiliar songs, the book of this particular adaptation was written by Beverly Olsen, whom the theatre is named after.
As in years past, Kim Florence once again stepped into the role of Ebeenezer Scrooge. Florence is fantastic at portraying the grumpy gentleman who is struggling with his Christmas spirit. My favorite part of the show is when he sings the song “I Hate People,” which embodies the character of Scrooge well.
Something I noticed this year was some additions to the set, spearheaded by building and scene room manager Nathan Fawcett. There were some really wonderful silhouettes added to the scenes of Scrooge’s past that added a great deal to the ambiance of the show and helped make Scrooge feel more fresh and new than it has for a long time.
I also greatly enjoyed the music of the full ensemble. Music director Whitney Cahoon has done a fantastic job of taking classic carols and newer songs and making the harmonies sound strong and smooth. It was also clear that the cast was happy and excited to be back on stage and working together to be performing this show again and be a part of the tradition.
One wonderful thing about mounting the same show as an annual tradition is that a theatre company can gradually accumulate many beautiful costumes. Costume designers Cindy Simmons, Tani Lynch, and Jim Tatton have done such a wonderful job of gathering beautiful costumes. They adding wonderful details, such as hats, flowers, and ties, that make the visuals of this production fantastic.
The children in the cast were quite skilled as well. Beckett Ronnow as Tiny Tim was endearing, and his songs brought a smile to my face. He represents so much of the joy and the spirit of Christmas in the story, and Ronnow was wonderful at bringing that spirit to the classic story. The other children who played the Cratchit children and children in the ensemble all had high energy and exud3ed joy and excitement. I also enjoyed the performance of Don Wilhem as the ghost of Christmas Present, who was superb at blending humor with seriousness when needed.
Because there are so many different adaptations of A Christmas Carol out there, it can be a difficult thing as a theatre goer to determine which version to attend, and whether the story is still as fresh as it could be. I am often pondering if we as a society have learned the lessons that Dickens tried to teach in his tale, and how each of these adaptations covers the story. One thing that Terrace Plaza does well is the strong involvement of community. I appreciate seeing people who may not be seen on stage at a different level of theatre. Whether at Christmastime or at other times throughout the year, there always seems to be a place at Terrace Plaza for these performers. I have found that this does not take away from the quality of the show, because A Christmas Carol (or Scrooge, in this case) in particular does have a different spirit about it.
Having said that, there are some aspects of the show that have felt more tired over the years, because of they stay the same year after year. This is why I was pleased to see some updates in scenery and costumes to freshen up the tale. I have always loved A Christmas Carol and feel it is important now more than ever to help people see how greed and selfishness can overtake leave people forgetting to help those who need it. I also can respect the need for a special tradition within a small theatrical community like the Terrace, but advocate for changes like the ones they have made this year, and hope they will continue to find ways to make the production fresh and new each holiday season.