Six performers play 37 characters in Blessed Unrest's revival of its raw, physical, and darkly comic take on the Christmas classic. More…
In 1843, in lieu of publishing a political pamphlet entitled 'An Appeal to the People of England on behalf of the Poor Man’s Child,' Charles Dickens wrote 'A Christmas Carol.' This adaptation returns to the story’s original intent as an examination of an unjust socioeconomic system that benefits a few at the top while the masses struggle to meet their basic needs. It shows the capacity of an individual to overcome fear, expand their perspective, and take action for others.
"Wonderful, faithful and stylized adaptation...Its accomplished staging, design and racially diverse and gender-fluid performances all make it a stimulating and thoughtful experience true to the spirit of Charles Dickens...Playwright Matt Opatrny has very skillfully pared down the 1843 novella into a swiftly effective, taut retelling...Director and choreographer Jessica Burr has created a number of dazzling moments with her precise unison of expressive staging, movement and dance." Full Review
"Smart and funny staging abounds...The players handle multiple roles with dexterity, humor, and heart...Throughout, director Burr deftly manages a mélange of social commentary, supernatural visitations, flashbacks, comic business, metatheatrical kidding around, and sentiment, all in the service of a classic story we seem to need to keep retelling. A couple of preachy passages are a small price to pay for a bright, family-friendly entertainment." Full Review
"A tasteful yet eclectic and unique experience indeed; Opatrny and Burr prove that they understood the true essence of the original story while also showing that they clearly had a wonderful time bringing their creative vision to life...It is truly a beautiful story, and the production brings forth the plot's heartwarming nature with such fervor, incorporating into it a bit of laughter and spirit that, although expressed in ways Dickens might not have foretold, brings this story to new life." Full Review
"This poignant show is both familiar and, thanks to Jessica Burr’s direction and choreography, a step beyond…While long passages of the original tale abound, the deft ensemble does an outstanding job of using contemporary speech to get the audience to connect to isolated Ebenezer…Constant stage activity, cheerful chucking of apples, much joyful dancing and the occasional ‘Happy Hanukkah’ greeting continually make this production a joy to watch." Full Review
"Enthusiastic ensemble cast members assume more than 30 roles, fluidly and effortlessly, moving from one role to another. The actors deliver raw, physical, and often athletic performances…The play preserves the basic story of 'A Christmas Carol,' and even with its many creative moments, a traditional family audience will still enjoy it. The play, however, drags a little...The fast-paced surfeit of fast-changing dialogue and scenes, although all well-choreographed, became a bit exhausting." Full Review
"A humanizing warmth flickers through this stripped-down 'A Christmas Carol'...A full-company dance number to Lady Gaga’s 'Applause' is an energetic high point. But, too often, the action is strangely far away, and there is a deadening effect to the script’s insistence on emphasizing social injustice even more than Dickens does in his original story...The show does include some lovely performances...Many other roles lack that vividness, and there is never a sense of a world firmly created." Full Review
"Some elements of the performance still shine—Becca Schneider and Nathan Richard Wagner are particularly charming in all their roles...Yet the careful choreographed flow of the piece itself is somewhat muddy after three years on the shelf...Sluggishness means slow scene transitions...The result is a piece that seems to lag...Other sections explaining the social conditions in Scrooge's world...lean toward the melodramatic-Shavian." Full Review
for a previous production "A delightful and poignant staging…But with all the fine performances the brightest star in this production is its director…God is in the details, and the sense one gets is that Ms. Burr scrupulously, lovingly, attends to all of them…Ms. Burr’s choreography, besides being entertaining, is tightly focused...She commands the stage with her performers, turning the performance space and everything in it into one organic, dramatic whole." Full Review
for a previous production "A smartly crafted and innovative production…In adapting the work, Matt Opatrny has taken on—and mostly succeeded at—the challenge of retaining Dickens's language, tone, and style while inserting new dialogue that provides Ebenezer Scrooge with a strong back story…There is so much to admire about this production, from the staging, to the use of an array of music ranging from the sublime to the absurd, to the performances by a multiethnic cast of very talented actors." Full Review
for a previous production "Performed by an excellent six-person cast, this production is thoroughly theatrical, frequently delightful, and ultimately ambivalent about Dickens’ message of redemption…The show never stops moving, with all of Scrooge’s past, present and future reconstructed on stage with moving doors, trunks and cases of all sizes, and the actors’ bodies. The ensemble works together as well as any company I’ve seen." Full Review
See it if You are interested in seeing old classics staged with fresh perspectives; like physical theater with a company playing multiple roles.
Don't see it if You want a standard adaptation of Dickens' classic.
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