Dickens classic interpreted with class

As interpreted by Donna Ferragut, The Little Theatre of Alexandrias A Christmas Carol” is an American love letter to Charles Dickens treasured story of the haunting and self-redemption of the miserly moneylender Ebenezer Scrooge.   Adapted for the stage by Ferragut and drawn from the original text, it gives us a portrait of mid-19th-century England.

Set in London Town during the Christmas season, this charmingly mounted production evokes Harpers Weekly lithographs of elegant skating parties and Victorian parlors filled with ladies in rustling silks and gentlemen in their cravats. It opens with a picture postcard of a chorus in period finery singing God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. The tone is set for an intelligent rendition of the iconic novella filled with songs of the day.

Straight away you are alerted to the superb acting and direction with a captivating cast led by Phillip Baedecker as Scrooge his dark and grisly delivery of Bah, humbug sets your spine on edge from the start. With words of cautuin the townspeople refer to the curmudgeon-on-a-mission as solitary as an oyster and warn all to keep their distance.  

Larry Greys portrayal of humble, obsequious clerk Bob Cratchit is a study in restraint. We are lulled with posed vignettes of his adoring wife, cheerful beribboned daughters and the crippled Tiny Tim, played by the adorable Benjamin Leese.  

In this world of wassailing, Ebenezers nephew, Fred, played by another local top-notch actor Brandon DeGroat (one of six other roles in this production), gathers with his wife and friends around the Christmas tree. It was during these times that the tree, as the symbol of Christmas, had just been introduced by Queen Victorias consort Prince Albert as a new holiday tradition. With mistletoe kissing games and caroling the young couples portray our ideal picture of the season. 

Yet the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future arrive to interrupt the proceedings with supernatural aplomb as they haunt the dreams of old Ebenezer.  Melissa Ledsma-Leese, Dru Hodges and Shawn Perry bring a credible spookiness and gravitas to their roles and the lighting and eerie miasma set the unearthly tone for their visitations.

When Scrooge realizes his failings Why did I walk through crowds of my fellow human being with eyes downcast? we embrace the true spirit of Christmas along with him. Enjoy this nostalgic tale with a top-drawer cast.

A Christmas Carol” runs through December 18. For tickets call 703 683-0496 or visit www.TheLittleTheatre.com. For more from Jordan Wright, visit her blog,Whisk&Quill.

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