Like the Dickens 

Director Hal Kohlman has delivered a solid take on a slightly retooled adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” penned by D. Lance Marsh, artistic director of TheatreOCU, who also stars as Ebenezer Scrooge.

Devoid of friendship, love or charity, miserly businessman Scrooge is warned by the specter of his former business partner that if he does not change his ways, he will be cursed in death to walk the earth forever.

Scrooge then is visited by three ghosts who guide him through an examination of his life choices. 

Marsh’s script, which has always been efficient and effective in its telling, feels more refined. All the touchstone scenes are intact, leaving room for some great moments, which are brought to life by a strong cast.

As Scrooge, Marsh’s resolute grumpiness is deliciously paced, with every nasty phrase delivered with a considered deliberateness. He is supported by an exceptionally well rounded cast.

Alex Enterline is heartbreakingly earnest as Bob Cratchit, while Kaylee Johnson brings a cold fascination to the role of the Ghost of Christmas Past. Dressed like a drunken Santa Claus, Billy McCartney has a grand ol’ time as a cross-cultural Ghost of Christmas Present.

The charismatic Hunter Canedy makes a big impression as the only Fezziwig I’ve ever seen whose dynamism truly lived up to Scrooge’s description. Bryant Belknap is also a delight as Scrooge’s overbearingly positive nephew.

While very good, “Carol” has a few problems, first being that the role of Jacob Marley feels woefully miscast. In years past, Marley has been played by an older actor. Oklahoma City University student Garrett Henderson does his best, but fails to convey Marley’s burdened world weariness.

The production values are fairly excellent across the board. The re-used sets are still spectacular; the lighting and costumes are top-notch.

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Eric Webb

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