Written by Tom Mula
Directed by Shelly Higgs
Street Theatre 27-29 November 2015
Reviewed by Bill Stephens
As performed in this production, Tom Mula’s award winning play recounting the Dickens Scrooge story from the point of view of Marley’s ghost seemed to have lost something in translation and failed to engage on opening night.
The concept for this production was as a “show in a suitcase”, with the premise being that everything used, including lights, sound and set pieces could all fit in a suitcase and be easily set up in a variety of performance spaces.
|Craig Alexander in "Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol"|
The performance began promisingly with the audience entering the theatre to discover actor, Craig Alexander, casually arranging and adjusting props in a circular area marked out on the floor by candles, stacked suitcases, a ladder and some theatre lights.
Nothing about the setting, or Alexander’s costume, suggested Dickens, but theatrical magic had been promised, so this added to the anticipation.
As the audience settled in their seats, Alexander engaged some in conversation, setting up a casual atmosphere. When all were settled he gently segued into his story, switching out the auditorium lights to let his special lighting take over.
Adopting a variety of voices and accents to differentiate characters, Alexander incorporated small torches and other props into the performance. Unfortunately these props were not sufficiently well handled to provide the expected magic or create atmosphere.
As the show progressed, it became increasingly clear that managing the lighting and props was distracting Alexander from his performance which soon lapsed into coarse acting with rushed, shouted lines, wildly varying accents, and undisciplined movement with little of the finesse and polish necessary to make a one-man show memorable.
Therefore, experiencing difficulty engaging with any of the characters, the story, or indeed, the production, which surprisingly captured little of the expected Dickensonian period or sensibility, this reviewer took advantage of the interval to escape.