Ed’s note: Will Synetic’s Christmas Carol thrill children and adults? DCTS reviewer Gary McMillan speaks for the adults, (See Take 2) and our young reviewer gives his perspective here.
A Christmas Carol
By Charles Dickens
Directed by Paata Tsikurishvili and Dan Istrate
Produced by Synetic Theater at Rosslyn Spectrum Theatre
Reviewed by Hunter Kieserman
I was not prepared for the visual excitement of Synetic Theater’s production of A Christmas Carol. I have seen many film and stage versions, so I was very excited to see the Synetic Theatre production because it was Synetic Theatre’s first family show, it was my first review for DC Theatre Scene and my Dad was joining me.
Like most kids, I was familiar with the plot of A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens’ classic tale of grumpy old Ebenezer Scrooge who is selfish and does not fully understand the meaning of Christmas until visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve. They open his eyes to the true meaning of Christmas and fill him with Christmas spirit. What I saw at Synetic Theater was absolutely phenomenal! It was a visual treat!
Without giving away all the incredible staging, let me tell you about two scenes I really loved. The first is the scene where Jacob Marley, Scrooge’s former business partner, arrived chained to other ghosts, and the second is the cemetery scene where the The Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come showed Scrooge what unhappy events will happen after his death. Both of these scenes were beautiful and exciting!
Adapted by Nathan Weinberger and directed spectacularly by Paata Tsikurishvili and Dan Istrate, I saw a wonderful cast lead by Irakli Kavsadze (one of the founders of Synetic Theater) who played Ebenezer Scrooge. Kavsadze not only made the role believable, but he took it one step further, by engaging the audience and allowing us to feel like we were there on the stage with him.
I also loved the performance of Miles Butler, who played Tiny Tim and The Young Scrooge, as well as other roles. In one scene, Tiny Tim is lying in his coffin. It was amazing that Miles never moved, especially when the actors had a hard time covering his face with a shroud-like cover. It just wouldn’t cooperate, but Miles just played dead. What a pro! I look forward to seeing the talented Miles Butler onstage in the future.
Before the show began, I met Miles’ parents and after the show, I attended an opening night reception and got to meet and talk to Miles about his performance. It was cool to find out that we were both 15 years old.
The set designed by Anastasia Ryunikov Simes was simple yet creative, because it was composed of an elevated chair and several suitcases that could be moved around to create different settings. The set design gave me just enough to use my imagination and be engaged in the show. Ms. Ryunikob Simes also designed the very colorful costumes. The score, composed by Synetic resident composer Konstantine Lortkipanidze, was beautiful. The choreography by Irina Tsikurishvili was full of energy and made scene transitions interesting and exciting to watch.
Kids will love the show as well as adults because the play is just the right length (about 70 minutes) and beautifully tells the story of the true meaning of Christmas. The production was definitely worth seeing and was a wonderful way to spend time with my father. However, I would not recommend this play for children under twelve due to some very scary situations that even had my father shaking.
Running time: 1:10 without intermission
Reviewer recommends ages 12+
When: thru Dec 23rd
Where: Rosslyn Spectrum, 1611 N. Kent Street, Arlington, VA 22209-
Tickets: $35 on Fridays and Saturdays, $30 on Thursdays and Sundays, $5 off for seniors (65+) and $20 for students for Friday and Saturday, $15 for students on Thursday and Sunday.
Info: Synetic box office at 703-824-8060, or visit their website.
Hunter Kieserman, 15, is a sophomore at Sherwood High School in Sandy Spring, MD. He has been performing since 1999. His favorite musical is Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
When Hunter is not onstage, he works with his best friend Max Talisman on their new musical comedy The Drive To Paris.