A Christmas Carol at A Noise Within
In the blink of an eye, it’s December. The holiday season has arrived and A Noise Within has quickly put me in a merry mood. The beloved theatre company is performing A Christmas Carol all month for its 10th year. I was thrilled to attend the opening weekend.
A Noise Within has strong ties to LA’s prolific theatre scene. They began in 1991 on Brand Avenue in Glendale and changed zip codes about a decade later to Pasadena. Their home on Foothill Boulevard is centrally located to restaurants and shopping. They even share a parking lot with the Metro station. These aspects make it so accessible to catch a show.
A Christmas Carol at A Noise Within
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is a tale we all know through one aspect or another. Mine has always been the classic Muppets retelling. Mr. “Bah Humbug” himself, Ebenezer Scrooge, gets visited by several ghosts on Christmas Eve to at last understand the true meaning of Christmas. Along the way, he revisits his past, and even future and learns how to open his cold heart.
Each year, artistic director, Geoff Elliott, reprises his role as Scrooge. Elliott also adapted the story to the stage and serves as co-director of the production with his wife and co-artistic director, Julia Rodriguez-Elliott.
The play begins rather slowly. There’s not much immediate magic as we’re being introduced to Scrooge. The atmosphere felt dreary and unwelcoming. This distance made me relate to how Scrooge’s employee, Bob Cratchit (Bert Emmett), must feel. The original scenic concept by Jeanine A. Ringer is curated expertly as each scene progresses.
Visiting with Ghosts
When Scrooge’s deceased partner, Jacob Marley (Jeremy Rabb) visits his bitter old business chum, he makes quite the arrival. Chains adorn the spirit’s costume and it makes for a grand entrance. The elaborate and creative costumes by Angela Balogh Calin continue to impress throughout the show. I especially loved the idyllic tutu swirling attire on Ghost of Christmas Past (Deborah Strang). Much like the elaborate welcome of Marley, Scrooge’s ghost of memories past arrives on a swing hanging from the stage.
I was in awe at the visuals and I’m sure young audience members will feel the same.
As the perplexed (and still somewhat cranky) old man dives deep into buried recollections, it’s clear what events led to Scrooge becoming who he is today. It will take a miracle for him to change his selfish ways. But, what better time than Christmas Eve to try?
As we meet a young Scrooge and his love interest, Belle (Roshni Shukla), the stage is filled with a colorful and merry song and dance number. Although A Noise Within’s A Christmas Carol is not a traditional musical, there are still a handful of cheery songs.
When we meet the Ghost of Christmas Present (Stanley Andrew Jackson), we’re once again introduced to an eclectic, vibrant character. Audience members of all ages are sure to love the larger-than-life costume and wisdom he brings.
Theatre for All Ages
Theatergoers young and old are sure to fall in love with the young performers. No matter how familiar with A Christmas Carol one is, they are sure to know the beloved Tiny Tim. Aarush Mehta and Estella Stuart share the role respectively. We had the pleasure to see Mehta who brought so much sweetness to the character.
As far as little audience members, I kept thinking how much my Mabel would love parts of the show. A Noise Within welcomes children as young as five but all guests must have their own seats. Many kids were in attendance and were loving A Christmas Carol from what I could tell. Certain scenes are dark and may be scary for some little ones. Especially when Scrooge gets a glimpse at his funeral unless he changes his way.
By the end of the 90 minute production, that initial coldness I felt had long evaporated. Scrooge was no longer bitter, and the crowd could feel it, too.
A Christmas Carol plays at A Noise Within everyday except Mondays from December ninth through the 23rd. On December 10th at 11 am, they will host a “relaxed” performance for patrons with sensory concerns in mind. Learn more and get your tickets before Christmas HERE.