Bradley University Theatre's holiday offering is the Dickens classic "A Christmas Carol - A Ghost Story Of Christmas".
I confess that I was not looking forward to this one. Although I love Dickens, this story was penned over 150 years ago and has been done in many versions; in film, on stage, for television, live and animated.
What could possibly make it interesting again?
Well, the BU production adds just enough technology along with fine performances to hold our attention and remind us how truly charming this timeless tale is.
The three spirits are projected video enhancements, and the sparse set is augmented by backstage miniatures that are shown on a large screen above the stage. The ghosts are made even more effective through the use of fog and sound distortion. (My one complaint is that the sound quality was uneven and so loud in places that it sent some frightened youngsters scurrying out of the theater.)
The performances were, for the most part, very good. Even though a couple of the actors flubbed their lines on opening night, they continued on like true troupers.
The stand out dramatic performance was Jeremy Behrens as Scrooge. He did a great job as the old Humbug who comes to understand the meaning of Christmas and the need to keep it in one's heart throughout the year.
Following the short play (under one hour), the cast showed off the backstage technology and sang some carols, including a most charming a capella duet. They then divided the full house audience up into twelve sections, and conducted a sing-along with physical gestures of (you guessed it!) "The Twelve Days of Christmas". The audience really got into this fun exercise and a good time was had by all.
This production has a short run, only through this weekend. So, if you are not yet in the Holiday spirit, please go see this show.
I guarantee you will have a dickens of a time and will be humming a carol as you leave the theater.