Review By Rae Hunt, FRONT ROW REVIEWERS
Finding a new version of the classic Charles Dickens tale, A Christmas Carol, gave me a marvelous jump start to creating Holiday Cheer for me and my loved ones. Timpanogos Valley Theater did just that for me and mine with their newest production, A Christmas Carol: A Live Radio Play. Traditions are important to us, especially around the holidays. Christmas just doesn’t feel the same without certain rituals to follow. Put up the tree? Check! Hang the stockings? Check! Start watching Christmas flicks? ABSOLUTELY!
A Christmas Carol follows Ebenezer Scrooge, who is a miserly skinflint that believes Christmas is simply a “poor excuse to pick a man’s pocket every 25th of December”. His only concern for the welfare of mankind is that of his own welfare. This prompts a visit from the spirit of his old business partner Jacob Marley who tells him that he needs to change his ways to avoid the shackles and chains he is currently doomed to wear after death. Marley advises Scrooge that he will be visited by three spirits throughout the course of the night who will guide him through his past, present, and future to help him learn the real meaning of Christmas.
While this story is as familiar as the back of my hand, I’ve never seen it put on as a radio play and was excited to review A Christmas Carol in this form of media. Following other radio plays typical with the 30’s and 40’s radio play, Timpanogos Valley Theater has a delightful cast, fun stage design, and the authentic sound effects of a period style radio play.
Our cast starts out with the Stage Manager played by Hayley Loertscher who leads the rest of the cast. She often steps in for smaller parts in the radio play and does a great job as part of the singing ladies during the commercials. H Loertscher puts her heart and soul into her part and beautifully brings the rest of the cast together. Her husbandm Kyle Loertscher, embodies Freddie Fillmore, the radio station’s star voice, who plays the primary role of Ebenezer Scrooge. K Loertscher is passionate while also humorous. He has such rich inflection in his voice and a large range of emotion, both that serve the role of Scrooge well.
We also have radio stars Sally Applewhite (Charlotte Bargowski) and Harry Haywood (Benjamin Burrow). Both of these young thespians are compelling and entertaining. Bargowski shares her thoughts about her character, that Sally Applewhite is a bit of a southern belle and has a very convincing accent to go along with it. I absolutely love her fruitcake commercial during the first commercial break and couldn’t help laughing along with the rest of the audience. She has multiple voice roles as Applewhite and I love how much range she has in the different voices and accents. Burrow, as Haywood, primarily portrays Bob Cratchit, Scrooge’s long-suffering employee. He is authentic and earnest, which makes him perfect in this role. He is bright and clear in this role as well as the other parts that Haywood covers in the radio production. Applewhite and Haywood often have background interactions together that are delightful as well and really sell the live radio show feel.
Jake Lawrence (Gary Harter) plays a lot of roles for the radio as well. Notably several of the businessmen and Scrooge’s nephew Fred. He’s always popping in and out of different roles, voices and songs. I particularly enjoyed him as the Ghost of Christmas Present. Also supporting in the radio cast is Bethany Ward as Lana Sherwood. Lana Sherwood plays a number of roles and is part of the trio of singing ladies during the commercials. My favorite part is toward the end of the performance when she is portraying one of Scrooge’s staff who is trying to sell some of his belongings. This scene was particularly fun to watch.
Last but not least we have the Foley Artists. A Foley Artist makes the oh so important sound effects for the radio play. While these parts have no spoken lines, Jared Wright and Amelia Burrow do a fantastic job. It was fun to watch them knock on doors, ringing bells, and crack belts. You may think you’ve seen enough A Christmas Carol to keep you entertained for good. But you don’t know Scrooge til you’ve seen A Christmas Carol as a radio program.
This production of A Christmas Carol was produced by Nathan Moulton and directed by David Burrow, with Assistant Director, Robyn Laine. This is D Burrow’s first production to direct and I for one can’t wait to see what other stories he will bring to life. Costumes designed by Kristen Hughes are very time period accurate and in combination with the Stage and Set Design by Gary Harter, the audience is really taken back in time as if we were the live audience for a radio production. Sound Tech by Ward and Pianist Sylvan Scott put the finishing touches on this production.
This production has A and B casting. While I was privileged to review this production with the A Cast, I’m certain that B Cast is just as fun and enjoyable. B Cast includes Evelyn Boyer, Cevin Carr, Alexa Hewlett, Don Doud, Robyn Laine, Westin McAllister, and Jessica Theriault.
A Christmas Carol is one of my favorite Christmas stories, and this production of A Christmas Carol: A Live Radio Play has made it my new favorite iteration. Come see this fast-moving, interesting, and fun production, and bring the family. (And God bless us, everyone!)
Timpanogos Valley Theatre presents A Christmas Carol: A Live Radio Play, adapted by Joe Landry.
Timpanogos Valley Theatre, 90 N 100 W, Heber City, UT 84032
Dec 8 – Dec 20, 2023, 7:00 PM See site for individual performance details.
Tickets: $10 Adults / $8 Children
Contact: (435) 654-2125
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