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CATCO’s ‘Christmas Carol’ brings some more holiday spirit to Columbus

The cast of CATCO's 'A Christmas Carol', which plays at the Riffe Center through December 22
The cast of CATCO's 'A Christmas Carol', which plays at the Riffe Center through December 22
Dave Alkire

A Christmas Carol

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We all know the classic tale that’s told around Christmastime – the grouchy old Ebenezer Scrooge who despises Christmas is visited on Christmas Eve night by the ghost of his former business partner and three spirits which help him rediscover what the holiday season is all about. There have been many adaptations of A Christmas Carol over the years, and it’s a story that never really gets old. And CATCO’s current production of A Christmas Carol tells the story in a way you’ve probably never seen before.

Set in the 1940’s in England, a group of actors find an abandoned theatre. Inside, they discover old props, costumes, sets, and the scripts to A Christmas Carol. Deciding to have a little fun, the group of friends starts reading the scripts out loud, each taking on different roles and tasks in the story.

And so Christmas Carol comes to life again on the backdrop of an abandoned theatre.

The story itself is largely the same as what you already know – with a few twists here and there to bring attention to the fact that it’s actually a play – but because of the set up at the beginning of the show, the antics that go on elsewhere on the stage make for a very different, and interesting, viewing experience of this story. Seeing the actors moving around the set pieces and backdrops, performing sound effects around the stage, and generally helping create the atmosphere of the play they’re putting on gives the show a “behind-the-scenes” kind of feel that is incredibly unique.

Speaking of the actors, CATCO has one again assembled a phenomenal cast of both new and familiar faces alike. Taking the role of Scrooge himself, Ken Erney embodies the classic character in a comfortably familiar way while also bringing his own elements into it. He has a dark humor that runs throughout the show, and his reactions to events are both authentic and entertaining. The other actors take on several characters throughout the show with apparent ease. Ben Sostrom, Dani Mann, Liz Wheeler, Matt Clemens, Emily Turner, Japheal Bondurant, and Ben Hartwig make up the rest of the cast, and the rest of the characters. I could not help but be incredibly impressed with their seamless transitions from character to character, bringing something new to the stage each time they made another entrance.

All in all, A Christmas Carol is an incredibly enjoyable play that sticks to the classic story while also bringing something new and unique to the stage. One thing is for sure – CATCO is not lacking in Christmas spirit this year.