There’s something to be said for the comfort of the familiar, particularly around the holidays. It’s what makes grandma’s homemade stuffing so delicious each year at Thanksgiving. It’s why we re-watch It’s a Wonderful Life for the millionth time each Christmas morning. And it’s what made my third annual viewing of Goodman Theatre’s A Christmas Carol such a complete and utter delight.
Now in its 42nd rendition, Goodman Theatre has perfected the formula for presenting Dickens’ classic tale. Todd Rosenthal’s set design seamlessly transitions between scenes while offering stunning visuals. Heidi McMath’s costumes are as perfect as paintings, and Andrew Hansen’s original compositions, performed by musicians onstage, expertly set the mood for each scene.
What’s most striking and what keeps audiences returning, though, is the production’s spirit. Every one of the twenty-five performers, from those like Larry Yando who have been “bah humbug”-ing for years to newcomers like Hannah Starr, take on their roles with such energy and passion that it’s impossible not to get swept away with them.
Two years ago, I called Goodman’s production “pure holiday magic.” Last year, I voiced concerns that the lack of change had rendered it stale. But this year, I appreciate it for what it offers: a consistently impressive version of Dickens’ tale, one that revels in the story’s moral about what the holiday season should be about--love, compassion, and care for those in need. To anyone who can’t find joy in that, I say “bah humbug.” (Emily Schmidt)
Highly Recommended ★★★★
A Christmas Carol continues through Dec. 29 at Goodman Theatre. Info here.
The Hawk Chicago is included in TheatreInChicago's Review Round-Up.
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