Carols save season production

By Josh Dalton

Arizona Daily Wildcat

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, as much as it can here in Tucson. To help the spirit along, the Gaslight Theatre is presenting Charles Dickens classic "A Christmas Carol."

"A Christmas Carol" is the familiar tale of a crotchety old miser named Ebenezer Scrooge (James Gooden). On Christmas Eve he is visited by the spirits of Christmas Past (Betsy Kruse), Present (Tim Gilbert) and Future (David R. Fanning), who try to persuade Scrooge to change his stingy ways.

Unfortunately, "A Christmas Carol" has a number of boring moments. The pacing is slow, often leaving the audience in anticipation for the next line for a second or longer.

The Gaslight's version of "A Christmas Carol" was adapted for the stage by Peter Van Slyke. This is a musical version, and a good thing too. These numbers save the show from being even more bland and drab. Among the particularly entertaining are "December the 25th," "Christmas Spirit" and the "Money" reprise, which have

within them elements of humor and happiness that are enhanced by energetic characters.

Although the entire cast is not enjoyable to watch, there are actors that save the show as best they can. Tim Gilbert in the roles of Thornton the beggar, Fezziwig and the Ghost of Christmas Present is funny, sometimes in spite of himself. However, the most impressive performance is handed in by David R. Fanning in his roles of the chestnut vender, the Ghost of Christmas Future, and particularly in the role of Scrooge's nephew Fred.

At the end of the night came the entertaining olios in the Gaslight Theatre tradition. Olios are sketch-type humorous shorts for which the Gaslight has become famous. Thankfully, at least these live up to expectation.

"A Christmas Carol" is, well, Gaslight Theatre. It is campy and melodramatic. Faithful fans or lovers of the silly will probably enjoy it. But for those who fall into a different category, rent the Muppet's version. It's cheaper, funnier, and, as if that weren't enough, it has Kermit.

"A Christmas Carol"runs until Jan. 7. For information on ticket reservations, call Gaslight Theatre at 886-9428.

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