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A Christmas Carol in Albany

A New Take on a Timeless Classic

By: Amy Shake - 12/09/2013

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The Spirit of Christmas Present (Marcy McGuigan) prepares to take Scrooge (Kevin McGuire) on a tour over London
The Spirit of Christmas Present (Marcy McGuigan) prepares to take Scrooge (Kevin McGuire) on a tour over London
Carollers (L to R: Doug Trapp, Kristyn Youngblood, Kevin Kelly, Marcy McGuigan) and Scrooge admire Scrooge’s (Kevin McGuire) box of treasures
Carollers (L to R: Doug Trapp, Kristyn Youngblood, Kevin Kelly, Marcy McGuigan) and Scrooge admire Scrooge’s (Kevin McGuire) box of treasures
Marley (played by Doug Trapp) returns from the grave
Marley (played by Doug Trapp) returns from the grave
The Spirit of Christmas Yet-to-Come (Kevin Kelly) watches Bob Cratchit (Doug Trapp)
The Spirit of Christmas Yet-to-Come (Kevin Kelly) watches Bob Cratchit (Doug Trapp)
The Spirit of Christmas Present (Marcy McGuigan), affectionately invigorates Scrooge for a fanciful trip over and through London
The Spirit of Christmas Present (Marcy McGuigan), affectionately invigorates Scrooge for a fanciful trip over and through London

A Christmas Carol: Cap Rep Theatre

Currently playing at Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany is Patrick Barlow's spirited adaptation of A Christmas Carol. In true Barlow fashion, the REP's production, directed by Michael Bush, is high energy, fast-paced and colorful and not your traditional cup of hot chocolate.

All the characters of the classic Dickens story, as well as some props and set pieces, are portrayed by a grand total of five actors who play "Carolers, Revelers, Spirits, Furniture and Sundries" alike with impressive energy and the necessary mixture of both intense focus and A.D.D.    

Kevin Kelly plays a plethora of convincing characters ranging from the good-humored Fezziwig to the manipulator and voice for a marionette Tiny Tim to a stoic bedpost.  In addition, he portrays the Spirit of Christmas Yet-to-Come, who is particularly foreboding clad as an Ozzy Osbourne lookalike.  Balancing that goth chill, Kristyn Youngblood is a fun, doe-eyed Spirit of Christmas Past, a frivolous Mrs. Cratchit and an earnest and hardworking grandfather clock.

Doug Trapp, brings an innocent, youthful energy to Bob Cratchit, various Young Scrooges and plays a rather jovial Jacob Marley.  As the Spirit of Christmas Present, Marcy McGuigan truly embodies the iconic jovial jokester we've all come to know and love.  Her ability to rotate between narrator, coatrack, and various London urchins is extremely impressive and perhaps the most diverse.

Enter, Stage Right: Kevin McGuire as Ebenezer Scrooge. McGuire’s Scrooge is just as energetic as the entire quartet. His love for money and ripping people off brings out in him the schoolboy we thought he'd lost.  Despite being a tad manic, McGuire effectively still lets us see his heart soften with each passing Spirit.  He effectively presents a satisfyingly multi-dimensional and very human Scrooge, as opposed to the angry curmudgeon we've seen one-too-many times. 

Complete with beautiful Victorian costumes and a Marx Brothers mirror pantomime gimmick straight out of "Duck Soup", the REP's production of "A Christmas Carol" is a production fit for families, Dickens enthusiasts, and Abbott and Costello fans alike.

"A Christmas Carol" plays through December 22 at Capital Repertory Theatre. For dates, times and tickets ($20-$60) call 518.445.SHOW or go to www.capitalrep.org. Children under 6 are not admitted to REP.

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