Stages

Review: Eclectic Theatre Adapts A Christmas Carol as Audio Play (With Visuals)

Screenshot from Eclectic video.

A new audio-play-with-visuals by Eclectic Full Contact Theatre has joined the holiday season array of productions of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Eclectic’s version, adapted and directed by Andrew Pond, who also stars as Scrooge, is skillfully produced and the original imagery that accompanies the audio play is a charming addition.

The story follows the Dickens plot, beginning in the office of Scrooge & Marley (the latter “dead as a doornail”). Bob Cratchit is trying to finish his work so he can take the holiday off but Scrooge complains about that. And so it begins, and continues with visits to Scrooge’s chamber by the three Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. Pond’s adaptation adds occasional clever dialogue bits but hews to the story until the cheerful ending on Christmas Day.

Screenshot from Eclectic video.

Nine actors, most of whom play multiple roles, succeed in creating distinctively voiced characters with proper English accents. In addition to Pond, the performers are Meg Elliott, Richard Eyre, Jessica Lauren Fisher, Danial Houle, Noelle Klyce, Rachael Proulx and Lexy Weixel. Kaeley Osterman is the narrator.

The original illustrations, black and white with some color accents, are by Kaeley Osterman and Rachael Proulx. The program is engineered and recorded for video by Daniel Houle.

Tickets for this Eclectic audio play are $20. That gets you a unique link good for any day through December 24. Once you activate the link, it’s good for 24 hours. The play runs about 90 minutes and you can pause it if needed.

Screenshot. Ghost of Christmas Present.

Every holiday season I’m appalled to see how many productions of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol appear on stage. Someone with time on their hands had the patience to collate this exhaustive list of adaptations for Wikipedia. After all these years, why haven’t theater companies found or commissioned more new holiday stories, instead of constantly repeating this old chestnut? Okay, there are Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins, It’s a Wonderful Life and an Irving Berlin musical. The Who’s Holiday is new this year. And thank goodness for the Q Brothers. (We’ll have a review of the 2021 version soon.) But those one-offs pale in comparison to the dozen or more Christmas Carols available every December. This year in addition to Eclectic’s radio play, I recommend Manual Cinema’s visual reinterpretation. But next year, could we have more new and less old?

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