Charles Dickens’ classic yarn seems less of a carol, as we call it, and more of a campfire tale, yet it has come to represent all that is wonderful about the holidays: redemption, joy, forgiveness. To say that Ebenezer Scrooge has been overdone—top hats, coat tails, canes, and soiled nightshirts—would be blasphemy [we show 6 versions of it running on DC area stages at this moment]. And so, every year , we ring in the season with a gaggle of ghosts, a cherished tradition.
Published in 1843, Dickens’ A Christmas Carol recounts how the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge changes his ways after a series of ghostly visits, kicked-started by Jacob Marley. His business partner in life, the dead Marley lingers in purgatory, held there by the literal chains he figuratively forged in life as a money-grubbing banker.
NextStop Theatre has found a new twist as Jacob Marley recounts his side of Scrooge’s transformative night, taking the audience to hell and through the revelation that, for him, to redeem Scrooge is to redeem himself. Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol with Ray Ficca and Rob McQuay at the helm, delivers a darkly delicious and spirited Christmas fable.
Marley sets off on a 24-hour crusade accompanied by his personal “Bogle”—that’s archaic speak for bogey (as in the man under the bed kids fear). An apparition charged with guiding Marley through his task, this Bogle actually personifies the lighter side of death. He keeps the show in good humor.Ray Ficca is a one-man wunderkind who’s mastered both spooky storytelling and the stage. He does it all—a shackled Marley, Scrooge, and the familiar holiday specters we’ve come to appreciate (and maybe even love).
Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol
Closes December 29, 2013
NextStop Theatre Company at
Industrial Strength Theatre
269 Sunset Business Park
1 hour, 55 minutes with 1 intermission
Fridays thru Sundays
Details and Tickets
The show aligns with the original in the best ways—a somber ambiance that precedes a moody midnight haunting blankets the stage, which is beset by garbed, faceless mannequins: death incarnate, a dapper Londonite, and the dark Father Christmas—all versions of Scrooge’s ethereal chaperones. The set looks dusty, dirty, and dank. We’d expect nothing less associated with the wonderfully woeful Mr. Dickens.
We know that Scrooge opens his heart; Marley must also find redemption—as we see that, like Scrooge, he too survived a “wasteless … Dickensian childhood.” But, what’s surprising is his final act and how he chooses to spend the afterlife.
Everything about this show feels like Christmas.
Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol .Adapted by Tom Mula; Based on Charles Dickens’ novel . Directed by Rob McQuay . Starring Ray Ficca . Stage Manager, Laura Moody . Assistant Stage Manager, Barbara Maltseva . Production Coordinator, Jennifer Lambert . Technical Director, David Phelps . Scenic Designer, Jennifer McDuffee . Costumes by Kathy Dunlap . Lighting Designer, Steve Holliday . Sound Designer, Ben Allen . Properties Designer, Jennifer Lambert, Evan Hoffman, and Sierra Banack . Hair/Makeup Designer, JaclynYoung . Produced by NextStop Theatre Company . Reviewed by Kelly McCorkendale.