A Christmas Carol

Rated 4.0 It just isn’t Christmas without Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. There are numerous versions of this time-honored tale being staged throughout the region. One current production is a return engagement by the Sacramento Theatre Company (STC). The STC production of A Christmas Carol has been on hold for the last four years, exchanged for the musical Cinderella. This year’s Carol is a revisit to the musical version STC has staged throughout the years, beginning with the first adaptation in 1988.

The songs don’t stop the action but are incorporated into the story as period pieces — songs that might have been sung as carols or around the hearth.

The staging is done through overlapping narration, as the large cast trades off delivering Dickens’ description of a dreary London, a grouchy Ebenezer and warm family gatherings. Interspersed are the familiar scenes of Scrooge on his journeys to past, present and future Christmases.

Sometimes it’s hard to remember that A Christmas Carol is basically a ghost story. STC helps this along with a dark and dank set, massive fog and scary ghosts. The costumes are handsome, and the troupe is enthusiastic and energetic.

However, there is a strange lack of emotional resonance in this production. It may be because old Scrooge is played by a relatively young, spry Matt K. Miller. He does an admirable job, but his transformation isn’t a major arc. Also, the narration might be handled best through a core group of players rather than the whole cast.

“Bah humbug!” aside, it’s still nice to see this handsome Carol back on the STC stage.