Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: San Francisco

An Ethereal Production of Tom Mula's Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol

Also see Richard's reviews of Arlington, My Beautiful Laundrette and Bebop Baby and Jeanie's reviews of It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, November and Coney Island Christmas

Khris Lewin and Nicholas Pelczar
Marin Theatre gets into the Christmas season with Tom Mula's zany production of Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol. Don't expect your traditional Charles Dickens Carol which many regional theatres are presenting this season. In those productions, the ghost of Scrooge's ex-partner only appears at the beginning, weighed down by heavy chains and cash boxes—it one scary sight. Here, we get an inventive spooky look into the afterlife of Scrooge's deceased partner. The old geezer is now the center of attention as he tries to reform his former greedy partner. He even appears as the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Present and the ethereal Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. This version reminds me of a Word for Word production with not only dialogue but descriptions of characters from famous books.

Director Jon Tracy has assembled four brilliant actors to narrate the story and play the various roles. They also move the stage props around, making a large wooden table into a desk or turning it over to make Scrooge's four poster bed. It is an energetic production with the four jumping and running across the stage speaking in a poetic language. I must admit, it sometimes becomes overbearing and confusing.

Khris Lewin is excellent as Jacob Marley. He has created an absorbing character and is perfect as the money-grabbing partner of Ebenezer Scrooge. He is able to go from being a narrator to the character very smoothly.

Nicholas Pelczar as a lively Ebenezer Scrooge gives a fine performance. His movements about the stage, especially after Scrooge has been redeemed on Christmas morning, are delightful. Stacy Ross is excellent as the crispy old Record Keeper who gives Jacob a chance to redeem himself if he can get Scrooge to get some Christmas spirit. She also plays the Shadow of Death which is imaginatively and inventively accomplished. Rami Margron is a dynamo, playing various characters including Jacob's sidekick Bogle. This cast does a bang up job.

Nina Ball has devised an interesting and somewhat gloomy, dark set that includes raw scaffolding, enhanced by lighting by Kurt Landisman. Jon Tracy's direction is sharp and lively, giving a lot of energy-driven movements to the cast. Heidi Leigh Hanson dresses the actors in 21st century work outfits.

Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol plays through December 22nd at Marin Theatre, 397 Miller Ave, Mill Valley. For tickets call 415-388-5208 or visit Coming up next is the world premiere of Carson Kreitzer's Lasso of Truth.

Photo: Kevin Berne

Cheers - and be sure to Check the lineup of great shows this season in the San Francisco area

- Richard Connema

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