“A Christmas Carol” presented by Atlantic Stage

Atlantic Stage is a cozy theater that seats 70 and boasts seating level with the vomitorium – which was defined for us in the opening remarks as the area that leads to and from the stage between the seats – and which was used throughout the performance.  The stage was sparsely decorated with a few walls, two tables, a chair, and a fireplace.

My friend, Matt, accompanied me and we picked up our tickets at will-call.  We waited in line as a group in front of us purchased their tickets.  A friendly man, the stage manager or house manager perhaps, asked us for our names, requested our tickets from the lady helping the group in front of us, and quickly seated us.  The correspondence before the show had been very clear that we would not be seated after show time – most likely due to the use of the vomitorium. We scored seats with extra leg room (which was noted when the tickets were purchased).

The opening remarks were made by one of the founding members of Atlantic Stage and she thanked the show sponsors and encouraged us to visit their businesses.  I was pleased to hear that the Mad Hatter (a business I had discovered during one of my other adventures – see the Conway Snowball Drop entry) was a supporter and that the two women who own the Mad Hatter are two founding members of Atlantic Stage as well!  Many of the props and furniture used in the show were part of the Mad Hatter’s inventory!

The show started with a flute player playing a Christmas carol and carolers singing with her, crossing the stage and exiting by way of the vomitorium (I just like using that word).  Thom Penn portrayed Ebenezer Scrooge and played the part fantastically.  He went convincingly from old miser to a man full of good will and cheer at the end of his journey with the Christmas Spirits. My other favorite was Jason C. Adams who played the Ghost of Christmas Present (he also played a few other characters throughout the show as well).  Adams filled the stage when he was on it and had us laughing during many of his lines as the Ghost of Christmas Present.  The entire cast was delightful to watch.  Jed Duvall played Bob Cratchit and Matt and I both commented on how his southern accent came out in force during some of the scenes, making it a truly Southern rendition of “A Christmas Carol.”  The cast had quite a few local high school students as well as young children.  I admit that when Bob Cratchit’s family started singing around their Christmas dinner and the children’s voices carried the song, leaving Tiny Tim to end the carol with a solo (I believe it was “What Child is This?”) a few chills went up and down my arms – sweet children’s voices.  The show was also narrated by a young boy with an English accent.

The props were few, but they did roll out a bed for Scrooge to be awakened by the Spirits of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet to Come.  The entrance of Christmas Past was very clever!  Scrooge was lying on this four-poster bed and a hand came out from beneath his pillow and there emerged the Spirit of Christmas Past – from beneath his pillow!  The Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come managed to make her way around the stage on roller skates – a unique touch.

The first half was approximately 55 minutes and the second half was about 35 minutes.  A fifteen minute intermission allowed time for us to visit the refreshment area, which sold water, coffee, and sodas, and chips, granola bars, and Peppermint Patties, all for $1 each.  Matt and I got a few snacks and then looked at the photography that was hanging up on the wall.  Each print was for sale and the artists were mentioned in the opening remarks as well.  The photography featured views of Cherry Grove, SC and Waites Island (see more on Waites Island in a previous blog entry) and some views in Scotland.

A variety of Christmas carols were sung throughout the show to ring in the Christmas cheer.  And Tiny Tim was hoisted on the shoulders of Scrooge in the end to “God Bless us, everyone.”

Matt and I exited the theater via the vomitorium.

Cost: $27.50 for seats in the center; $10 for seats on the sides