Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge's holiday redemption, seems to work wherever it is transplanted, from the Victorian streets of London to 1880s Indian Territory.
'A CHRISTMAS CAROL'
CityRep, Oklahoma City University Theatre and Oklahoma Children's Theatre have partnered up to present Lance Marsh's classic adaptation. While this same-named production travels back to the original London streets, it features technical wizardry and innovative concepts that are strictly 21st-century.
Local favorite Jonathan Beck Reed plays a classic Scrooge "? rather understated, really. Director Tonia Campanella juggles the beautifully costumed crowds around the stage with effective ease. The overall opening performance felt a bit more studied than spontaneous, but that undoubtedly will loosen up as the complicated production and large cast find their footing.
'A TERRITORIAL CHRISTMAS CAROL'
Thirty miles north in Guthrie, Scrooge morphs into a land swindler, anxious to grab his take from down-and-out Civil War veterans and destitute widows, in The Pollard's "A Territorial Christmas Carol."
As Pollard's signature holiday offering for 20 years, this version has plenty of tricks of its own. At this point, it's hard to imagine anyone else but James Ong as the cowboy hat-wearing, boot-kicking Scrooge. When he's mean, he's really mean, and when he sees the light, he's adorably silly with joy.
This production seems to invite the whole community into the act, although Director Jerome Stevenson keeps the production values up to Pollard's standards.
Both these Christmas productions offer great family fun and are satisfying, classic holiday entertainment.