Kudos to community for A Christmas Carol

Todd MacLean
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Wade Lynch ‘entertaining’ as Ebenezer Scrooge

“I’m tellin’ ya, the talent on this Island...”

How often have we all heard this phrase uttered seemingly, in an increasing way in the past number of years, when we talk about the prevalence and depth of artistic skill that exists here in our Prince Edward Island arts community?

Surely there’s a good chance that you may have recently even said these words yourself, when marveling at the sheer abundance of impressive musicians, actors and artists in general in this teensy population base that makes up our Island home.

And when you go to see a show like Mavor Moore’s A Christmas Carol, presented in partnership with the Holland College School of Performing Arts and community theatre members, this kind of a head-shaking thought-declaration can inevitably arise quite promptly.

At its home on the Confederation Centre Homburg Theatre’s stage, Mavor Moore’s 1988 musical adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol, has been in performance since last week, and continues with three remaining showings this weekend.

Starring Wade Lynch as Ebenezer Scrooge, and directed and choreographed by Liz Gilroy, the show features a small-but-mighty orchestra under the direction of Don Fraser, and its cast is made up of students from Holland College’s SOPA program, with additional casting held by P.E.I. community theatre members including Justin Simard, Renae Perry, Mike Walker, Adam Gauthier, Olivia Barnes, Stephen MacDougall, Elijah Smith, Celia Koughan, Noah MacDougall, Will Millington, Doug Gallant, Oscar Cormier, and many more.

And what particularly struck me — when I had the pleasure of taking in the show last Saturday night at the centre — were three main things: The actors’ dedication to their roles, the set and costumes, and the production’s succinct package as a whole.

In terms of the actors, I would be remiss if I did not mention first and foremost here, the young Oscar Cormier, who plays the role of Tiny Tim.

In his show-stealing presence, Oscar displays remarkable budding skill as an emerging child actor, is adorableness redefined, and to describe what happens to the audience when he sings God Bless Us Everyone, perhaps a line borrowed from a Coldplay song could say it best: “Every teardrop is a waterfall.”

Wade Lynch is unquestionably one of the most entertaining Scrooges I have ever seen; and yet, while there are expectedly many laughs throughout, brought on by his naturally-comedic manner (most notably in the priceless Christmas morning scene, where Lynch is a fireball of joy-exuding spirit), his dramatic skills are on display in full force in this production.

And community theatre actors — led by Justin Simard (who plays a most thoroughly-terrifying Marley, whose ominous baritone voice resounds and chills your very soul (no wonder he brought kindergarteners to tears.), Renae Perry (as the sweet and darkly angelic Ghost of Christmas Past) and Stephen MacDougall as a very endearing Cratchit — all serve to make the musical all the more engaging.

With stupendous early-Victorian era costumes courtesy of designer Karyn MacPhee and beautiful set design work by W. Scott MacConnell, the production is further enhanced to whisk you way to mid-nineteenth century Britain at Christmastime; and yet, it is not a long journey either, as the show all wraps up with a tight running time of just over 90 minutes.

So, for your own chance to be heart-warmed (just like Scrooge on Christmas morning, perhaps) in seeing our Island community’s impressive Christmas show, keep in mind that A Christmas Carol plays tonight and tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee tomorrow as well, at 2 p.m.

Next week: A Joyful Sound’s two final concerts under Owen Aylward’s direction — St. Mary’s Church, Souris, Sunday at 2 p.m. and Hillcrest United Church, Montague, Sunday at 7:30 p.m. And, happy Christmas, one and all.

Todd MacLean is a local freelance writer and musician. If you have a comment or suggestion for a review, you can get in touch with him at tmaclean@theguardian.pe.ca or at 626-1242. But he won’t be offended if you don’t.

See Page 2 for Todd's Picks

Organizations: Holland College School of Performing Arts, Holland College, Confederation Centre Homburg Theatre P.E.I. community theatre Hillcrest United Church Harmony House The Guild Eastlink Centre The Mack Belle River Church

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Mary, Charlottetown Britain Hunter River

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