When performing Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, a professional company like Geva Theatre must be sure to make its adaptation unique. This season Geva accomplished this goal with a family-oriented production, while retaining the mature themes of Dickens' classic.
The addition of musical numbers was a defining variation to the familiar script. Written by Gregg Coffin, the lyrics and tunes are both appropriate and complementary to the story.
Over its many years, Geva has truly mastered proper utilization of the stage. For this show, the stage's representation of an older, colder and darker period helps immerse the audience in the world of the play.
This season's show also makes full use of projectors and screens for special effects. The spirits seem more supernatural with help from these screens, an issue that often poses a challenge in live performances.
Geva's actors continue to provide Rochester with excellence in this production. Whereas some Scrooges may flaunt their miserly side, this season's Scrooge (Guy Paul) presents a more realistic but just as dislikeable Ebenezer.
The rest of the cast members were exceptional in their multiple roles. Even actors playing lead characters such as Bob Cratchit (Jim Poulos) and Fred the nephew (Ned Noyes) had two or three other parts, to which they were just as dedicated. There were also a number of children involved in both the ensemble and cast who were just as professional as their adult comrades.
For those familiar with Dickens' classic, the show is certainly much more family-oriented than the original text. For example, Scrooge does some things out-of-character toward the end of the show for more laughs; thus, those looking for a real down-to-earth, mature show may not enjoy Geva's interpretation.
The Ghost of Christmas Future, which hangs from the ceiling above the audience, is also much less intimidating than most depictions. If Scrooge hadn't reacted to the ghost's appearance or if audience members sitting closer to the stage hadn't turned around, it's possible the ghost would have been completely ignored. This made that section of the play, arguably the most important, much less dramatic and interesting to watch, even though the projectors gave the ghost its own stage presence.
"This was my first Geva show and it won't be my last," freshman Charlotte Cwikowski said. "The show was a great way to put you in the Christmas spirit."
To further embrace the spirit of Christmas, Geva is providing a free showing of "A Christmas Carol" to veterans and their families on Dec. 24. This event, titled "Home for the Holidays," shows that Geva Theatre Center is more than just a performance space but a community theater.
Tickets are available for shows until Christmas Eve.u