A Christmas Carol
7:30 pm Wednesdays-Fridays, 2 and 7:30 pm Saturdays and 2 and 5 pm Sundays. Additional performances Dec. 23-24. Through Dec. 29., Wednesday December 25 | $17-$38.
Traditional plays are tricky: Without a good bit of je ne sais quoi
, they tend to plod along predictably. Lucky for us, this rollicking version of A Christmas Carol
has more than enough, managing to find surprises and intensity in a well-known story. From the moment viewers enter Portland Playhouse’s converted church, they’re enveloped in 19th-century London, with cast members acting as cockney-accented ticket-takers and concessions vendors, making this production all the more attractive for those seeking some kid-friendly theater. Director Cristi Miles blends the story of greedy Scrooge with light-hearted Christmas tunes and fun choreography, making for a fast-paced, intermission-free show that feels shorter than its 90 minutes. The entire cast is impressive, but the leads edge ahead: Drew Harper plays a colorful Scrooge, and the chameleonic Jen Rowe portrays Marley and all the ghosts. When Marley, dragging clanky chains, appears in Scrooge’s bedroom and wails at him menacingly, it’s deliciously creepy. But there are plenty of merry moments to calm the goosebumps, including a sweet song by Tiny Tim (Bella Freeman-Moule) and Bob Cratchit (Jeff Painter), and a lively finale of “Joy to the World.”
602 NE Prescott St.Website: http://portlandplayhouse.org/