ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT/THEATRE REVIEWS

Kraig Swartz, Tom Frey and Bridget Beirne in Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol playing at The Peterborough Players through Dec. 17. Photo by Will Howell

By EVE FISHER

YOUR LOCAL COURT JESTER

PETERBOROUGH — The Peterborough Players Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol opened Thursday, beginning with it’s cast of four processing through the audience by candlelight, singing a Christmas carol in perfect harmony. And already, I am absolutely bewitched.

Tom Frey plays Marley in Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol. Photo by Will Howell

The story of Christmas Carol will always have a special place in my heart. I’ve been in four productions of A Christmas Carol, I know the story backwards and forwards, and the redemption of Ebenezer Scrooge never fails to strike a chord with me.

When I heard about Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol, of course I was particularly interested in the show and excited to see how the classic tale would be interpreted through the eyes of the ghost of Marley.

The tale through Marley’s eyes is no less than spellbinding. The show keeps with the original Christmas Carol, taking liberties with it, and making it Marley’s story.

Christmas Carol’s theme of redemption remains, but there is an added theme of forgiveness, as Marley has to try to improve his situation in the afterlife as well as come to terms with misdeeds done to him in life.

What really struck me about this show was the storytelling. The cast — Tom Frey, Kraig Swartz, Bridget Beirne and Jared Starkey — do not fail to impress and made me feel a childlike sense of wonder with their storytelling. It was the emotional equivalent of being wrapped up in a blanket and sitting by a fire in the dead of winter while listening to a story told to you in the firelight.

Every actor is both playing multiple characters and narrating their story throughout the whole show, switching back and forth from the two modes seamlessly. The show also includes some gorgeous renditions of Christmas carols sung by the cast that gave me chills every time one began.

Peterborough Players veteran actors Swartz and Frey, who partnered as Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom in The Peterborough Players production of The Producers this summer, bring Marley (Frey) and Scrooge (Swartz) to life.

Peterborough Players Tom Frey, Jared Starkey, Kraig Swartz and Bridget Beirne breath new life into an old tale in Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol. Photo by Will Howell

All in all, Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol is a delightful and spellbinding beginning to the Player’s winter season and your holiday season.

Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol started Thursday and runs through Sunday Dec. 17 with evening and matinee performances. Tickets are $39.

The Peterborough Players is located at 55 Hadley Road in Peterborough. Go online to peterboroughplayers.org or call 924-7585 for more information.

Click here to read Meghan Pierce’s interview with the cast and director Charles Morey.