Hoopman’s Scrooge has a pale, scraggly look about him; think “old Dracula in a red bathrobe.” In addition to the requisite meanness, Hoopman brings out a poignant touch of regret when Scrooge realizes how narrow his life has become. As the show breaks for intermission, he calls out plaintively for his sister Fan and lost fiancée, Belle.
The staging incorporates more infernal elements than most versions of this tale. Jacob Marley climbs up from the orchestra pit amid a blast of fog. The charwomen who steal the dead Scrooge’s belongings sound like witches from Macbeth. Several actors actually dance atop Scrooge’s coffin—one of the stranger additions to the story I’ve encountered.
The show avoids several pitfalls that often mar community shows based on A Christmas Carol. There are no fake mutton-chop sideburns, and no one in the cast tries too hard to fake a British accent. However, the balance between recorded music (too loud) and singers (whose mics weren’t always on) could have been better.