Globe Live and 9 Works Theatrical’s restaging of A CHRISTMAS CAROL creates an experience that embodies everything that Christmas today is about. This one returns to the stage with a more surprising overall emotional impact. On its London streets and houses, we see an ensemble that represents more than a handful archetypal characters from start to finish, brandishing this tale with familiarity and relevance. And it is a sight to see. Ah! and its music, set, and the performance resulting from a combination of humor, horror, and life is quality more than it’s worth.
This Charles Dickens novel has had several editions, translated in several languages, and adapted in various forms since its publication for a reason. Despite the fact that Dickens intended A CHRISTMAS CAROL to be a “ghost story,” its core remains to be relevant. It tells the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, a bitter old miser who soon became a changed man overnight through the visit of four ghosts: his long-deceased business partner, Jacob Marley, and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Be.
Alan Menken and Lynn Ahrens’ musical adaptation breathed new life to Dickens’ novel and opened the possibility for people of all backgrounds to experience what one may call #TheMiracleWithin.
This rerun of A CHRISTMAS CAROL takes us to a chilly but cheerful London town enlivened for Christmas joyously brought to life through the direction of Robbie Guevara. Guevara, together with choreographers PJ Rebullida and Yek Barlongay, seem to breeze through the challenge of directing a cast with a complex demographic to sing, act, and dance. Daniel Bartolome’s musical direction has always brought more than just cheer to each staging. This year, his orchestration rhymes well with the re-staging’s more focused and aligned direction, reaching out with clarity and relevance.
Theater veteran Miguel Faustmann returns as Ebenezer Scrooge, mastering the essence of a man whose circumstances made him bitter gaunt. Faustmann seems to have found the balance in his portrayal that one can easily hate him for his actions, and at the same time, pray for his redemption. It is easy I suppose to sympathize with Scrooge as we all are in a way similar to him.
The four ghosts that visited Scrooge earned a standing ovation, Sunday night, for good reason. The magic of the three ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Be is that whether they are on Scrooge’s side or not, they have a mission to redirect his ways. The technical effects headed by Don Calingacion takes the set from Scrooge’s room to a supernatural world in his dream with surprises that should be preserved for when people go to see it live. Franco Laurel who plays the Ghost of Christmas Past delivers his lines with impeccable spirit you’ll somewhat hear an echo of his song even after Act 1! And while Nico Dans who plays the Ghost of Christmas Present appears like a phantasmal Santa Clause, that young audiences will love see, Rissey Reyes plays the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Be, delivers a hypnotically menacing performance.
Noel Rayos plays the ghost of Jacob Marley, Scrooge’s long-deceased business partner who warns him of the dark future in store for him if he continues on his dark path. His mere stage presence is enough to make one’s hair raise. He emanates so much hate, rage, and suffering that one may ask oneself how deep a chord such darkness could strikes a soul. Despite Rayos’ raggedness, there is a certain grace at the way he wields his chains that’s hypnotizing.
This re-staging offers a different experience from last year’s production. Though considerably bare and spartan as compared to the extravagant sets from 2016, this one shines with more magic and myth, reliving Dickens’ tale with clarity and focus. If last year brought considerable cheers, this one makes the audiences sigh with the miracle of heartfelt nostalgia and silent gratitude. Something that Dickens’ wanted to tell us all along.
Happy Holidays, dear Jellicle Readers.
#GlobeLive9WTACC #TheMiracleWithin #TheJellicleBlog
Photos by: 9 Works Theatrical and Ms. Trixie Dauz