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The Play-Goer: Twin Beach Players’ A Christmas Carol

We add another family favorite to our holiday list

      The ghosts of Christmas haunt the Twin Beaches this time of year. One is angelic, one is joyful and one is downright frightening. Yet their messages penetrate to the heart of the season.
      The three spirits, characters in Charles Dickens’ classic tale A Christmas Carol, made quite an impression on my family last weekend, as we attended the opening of the final production in Twin Beach Players’ 20th season.
      Part of a vast and talented cast of all ages, the Ghosts of Christmas Present, Past and Future were the highlights of the night in the eyes of my two sons.
      The boys were apprehensive about seeing yet another version of this story. Familiar with the animated Mickey’s Christmas Carol and the later computer-animated retelling featuring Jim Carrey in several roles, they were not thrilled to be seeing it again. They knew the story and thought nothing was to be gained by watching it live.
      Yet by the end of the evening, they, too, were singing the praises of Dickens, the Twin Beach Players and their adaptation of this beloved holiday classic.
      The atmosphere in the North Beach Recreation Center, home of the theater group, is always relaxed and intimate. We had seats up close to the actors and actresses, who were engaging and entertaining. When they veered off script — as Tiny Tim (Caius Spencer, in his debut) did in one scene — their portrayals were all the more endearing. 
      Director Rachel Cruz has her hands full wrangling a cast of 47. Yet from the tiniest to the towering, all tackled their roles with heart and earnestness. Terri McKinstry as Mr. Dickens and Brian Davis as Ebenezer Scrooge were standouts, though their lengthy monologues challenged the patience and understanding of my younger child.
      This Dickens tale is one of my favorites, and this show stayed true to the redemptive story. The theme of making amends for a life misspent and answering the call of spreading good will to men (and women) comes through in a way that even children understand.
      Come for the singing children, and stay for the dramatic entrance of Jacob Marley, long deceased.
     “My favorite part would have to be Marley’s haunting of Scrooge,” said 13-year-old Jonah. “The actor (Frank Antonio) was so into his position. I mean, he looked the part, and he acted the part. He was screaming and doing a ton of stuff. So, yeah, the Marley scene was my favorite.”
      Antonio’s entrance caught us all by surprise. “I was a little scared at first,” said nine-year-old Jordan. “But he was really good! He made a very good ghost.”
     As the Ghost of Christmas Past, Ashley Vernier was dressed like a holiday fairy, lit up with twinkling lights and an angelic crown. Lindsay Haas was a delight as the Ghost of Christmas Present, even while she presented the terrifying twins Ignorance (Bridget Puttlitz) and Want (Brooklyn Bricker). The Ghost of Christmas Future (Adam Dove) was downright ghoulish in a skull mask and silent nods.
      Each scene was capped by a chorus singing carols. The Fezziwig party featured the talented Jordanna Nye on violin. Mrs. Cratchit (Aaliyah Roach) joined Nye for a violin duet of O’ Holy Night. Every musical element set the just-right tone for the scene they capped.
     By the final scene, my boys were mesmerized and I was crying. The spirit of the season was within my heart once again.
 
 
Fri., Sat. 8pm, Sun. 3pm thru Dec. 10: Twin Beach ­Players, North Beach Boys and Girls Club, $15 w/discounts, rsvp: www.twinbeachplayers.com.