Fernwood feels the Christmas spirit

The Belfry Theatre presents A Christmas Carol, adapted and directed by artistic director Michael Shamata

Celine Stubel (Mrs. Cratchit), Simeon Sanford Blades (Tiny Tim), Adam Lolacher (Bob Cratchit) and Gerry Mackay (the Ghost of Christmas Present) in the Belfry Theatre’s production of A Christmas Carol.

The Christmas spirit is in the air at Fernwood’s Belfry Theatre, where artistic director Michael Shamata is directing his adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

At the forefront of this dynamic production — led by veteran actor Tom McBeath as a remarkably human Ebenezer Scrooge and an enchanting Gerry Mackay as the ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Future — is the transformation of a mistanthrope into a humanitarian, and it’s a pretty powerful one at that.

The story is a familiar one — those who haven’t read the Dickens original have surely seen the Disney classic, and this production is in keeping with the archetype.

But Shamata’s vision for this production tells the story in such a profoundly affecting way — with a stellar cast, a beautiful set, stunning physicality and incredible period costuming — and still it was the Christmas spirit that was the star of the show.

McBeath was the perfect choice for Scrooge, but his scrooge, while mean and greedy, was also weak, cowardly and, as it turns out, quite a nice guy — laughing, smiling, even dancing along with the memories the spirits present before him.

Adam Lolacher’s compelling performance as Scrooge’s employee Bob Crachit brought me (and many other audience members) to tears. It’s amazing how someone can be so grateful when they have so little.

Celine Stubel shone as Mrs. Cratchit (she also played at least three other characters), portraying the dutiful and devoted traditional wife role with gripping emotional range.

Real-life couple Brian Linds and Jan Wood were delightful on stage together as Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig. This scene, a memory brought forward by the Ghost of Christmas Past, is one of the most charming in the play, with an entertaining dance number and hefty helping of joy and amusement.

The four young-actors, Amisha and Ajay Parikh-Friese (in their Belfry debuts),  and the the adorable Lily Cave and Simeon Sanford Blades (as Tiny Tim) kept up with their more mature peers and really added the childlike innocence everyone looks forward to so much at this time of year. Kudos to these fine young artists.

Shamata’s decision to cast two dancers, Jessica Hickman and Daniel Fong as spirits was a good one, using the two alluring performers to transition the set from one scene to another with grace and delicacy.

If you think it’s too early to hear Christmas music in department stores or get the tree out of storage, get down to the Belfry and ignite the Christmas spirit within you. I laughed, I cried and took a long look at my life and what I have to be grateful for, and the Belfry is one of those things. M

 

A Christmas Carol

The Belfry Theatre

Until Dec. 16

Tickets from $25, Family of four $80

Ages six and up

belfry.bc.ca

250-385-6815

Just Posted

Life ain’t a drag for RuPaul stars

Victoria to play host to two of Drag Race reality show’s biggest personalities

REVIEW: Anna doesn’t quite know what it wants to be

Monday film reviewer Robert Moyes not impressed with the latest Russian femme fatale flick

BEHIND BARS: Learning about the versatility and nuanced flavours of sake

Discover new flavours with sake sommelier Anton Ihl at E:Né Raw Food and Sake Bar

Speaking out: Pride in the Word a major part of Pride Week

Billeh Nickerson returns to host an all-new group of writers for popular literary event

TESS ON TOUR: Festivals and attractions make it Vibrant Vancouver

Monday columnist Tess Van Straaten crosses the water to check out what’s hot in the big city

VIDEO: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ to be re-released with new footage

‘Avatar’ holds global box office record at $2.788 billion, while ‘Endgame’ stands at $2.743 billion…

Many food options at the Gorge Canada Day Picnic

A multitude of food trucks on hand, but pancake breakfast among the most popular choices

Feed your hunger for Canucks hockey in Victoria this September

NHL team to host camp at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre, exhibition vs. Calgary set for Sept. 16

Taylor Swift’s new music video features Ellen, Ryan Reynolds, RuPaul and more

Cast of Queer Eye and Katy Perry make appearances too on “You Need to Calm Down” video

COLUMN: Revisiting a decade ago as Victoria celebrates 20 years of Ska

4 million tourists visit Greater Victoria each year and there’s a reason we remain despite them

Rick Mercer-led comedy team in for second Just for Laughs show at UVic

Comedy company will stage two shows Nov. 16 at Farquhar Auditorium

Most Read