‘A Christmas Carol’ Review: God Rest Ye Merry, Plutocrats – The New York Times


The suggestion is that we are all one at this event. That includes the uber-skinflint Scrooge. As portrayed by Scott (whose father, George C. Scott, played the same role in a 1984 TV movie), he arrives onstage with a self-involved briskness that discourages entrance applause.

This Scrooge has little of the customary Dickensian gargoyle. When he says, “Bah, humbug!,” he’s cursing under his breath, not grandstanding. He is, above all, a busy man who never stops working and despises unnecessary distractions.

In this regard, he’s probably a lot like many New Yorkers you know. And those of you who have already had your fill of premature Christmas music may find yourself rooting for Scrooge as he dismisses the carolers who gather outside his house. “I need those singing creatures kept away from my door,” he complains, rather winningly, to his clerk, Bob Cratchit (the amiable Dashiell Eaves).

Not a chance, old boy. The actors and musicians who inhabit this show can’t be stopped from breaking into song, or fiddling a familiar festive melody or, quite enchantingly, shaking out a tune via hand-held bells. Music — affectingly arranged and orchestrated here by Christopher Nightingale — is, appropriately enough, the oxygen of this “Christmas Carol.” And we understand that Scrooge’s redemption is complete when he picks up a bell himself.

You probably already know the stations of this journey. Once again, the Christmas-hating Scrooge is visited by a procession of admonitory ghosts, who in this version push increasingly large carriages, starting with a pram and ending with a funeral coach, perhaps to invoke the baggage we bear through life.

The specter of the first of the spirits, Scrooge’s dead partner Jacob Marley, is played with the requisite clanking chains by Chris Hoch. The same actor doubles in the role of Scrooge’s abusive father, who provides a new and explicit Freudian back story for our main character. (Thorne, it’s worth noting, made father-son relationships central to his Tony-winning script for “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.”)

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