I was lucky enough to get comped tickets for this show and here is my review!
It was Friday the 13th, and we were lucky enough to have comped tickets for one of the first scary Christmas stories in our mainstream culture…The haunted spectacle full of ghosts…The Christmas Carol. (Yes, I should have posted about this earlier but I did mention it, and I did say I needed to write the review. This is me doing that.)
Not everyone thinks of The Christmas Carol as a spooky story full of ghosts, but that is exactly why I love the story, so, when my good friend Lenyn offered us comps for tickets to come see the show he was working in, at a theatre known for its production of said show, we had to go.
Now, as you may recall, this show was taking place in the middle of Bret’s labyrinthitis flare up, but we were able to dope him up and be okay. It was tricky getting him around, but in the end, we managed and we were both able to enjoy a lovely night at the theatre.
So the first thing I should tell you all is that while The Alley Theatre is an institution in Houston, I have never seen this show…In fact, I have been to this theatre a total of three times, once for a show in the black box, and I was too drunk to remember much of anything, and twice, more recently, for work, where I went to one of their event rooms.
I have never seen a proper show, at The Alley, and I haven’t seen any performance of The Christmas Carol in at least a decade if not more. Unless you count variation cartoonish tellings of the show, but in terms of actual artistic recreations…over a decade or more.
Anyways, Bret and I found our seats, and despite it being quite crowded and a tight fit, we snuggled in, and prepared ourselves for a lovely evening.
The opening number took my breath away, the dancing ghosts, not the main three, but the more ensemble style ghosts, or “The Apparitions” were FANTASTIC and I couldn’t stop smiling with how wonderful their performances were!
All of the performances were lovely, and when it comes to art, I try to not say rude things, so, as I am sure readers will notice, I will keep it on the positives.
The actors performing as the three spirits that haunt Scrooge, (who also played the debtors he was collecting from) were fantastic, as was scrooge himself. The actor playing Scrooges nephew, also was a delight to watch…but really all of the performers did a wonderful job.
The direction of the show was wonderful, although, I would have preferred a bit more apparitions or even just more…spooky factor. That being said, the show did have more spook than most presentations of The Christmas Carol, and for that I was very grateful.
The actor who played the ghost of Christmas future, whilst playing the debtor and therefore having lines, was a fucking fantastic delight, and I really wish the ghost of Christmas future had lines, instead of he silent specter he is always made to be.
I do understand that the spook for this spirit comes from the lack of speech, and the invoking of death, but i bet that actor could have still sold the idea of death even with lines. He was a delight.
The set was great, wonderful uses of trap doors and tracked items, smooth transitions and a great amount of confetti, snow, and fog, to really give you that immersive feeling while you watch the show.
The playbill that we went and found at intermission offers some fun facts about the amount of supplies and labor that goes into the show, including that 13 snow machines are used, churning out 75 pounds of snow, and that 50 pounds of mylar confetti along with seven pounds of glitter is used every year.
The show has (Here I will say “at least” because frankly all these numbers seem low with what I know about theatre) at least 434 props, 456 lights, 105 costume changes across 87 costumes (36 loads of laundry per week), 27 wigs, with 11 pairs of sideburns. Last year, over 37,000 people saw the show.
This show is an institution in Houston, and now I can see why. The show was wonderful, and other than the blinders that come on during the sweeping end of act one, which made Bret’s labyrinthitis worse, the show was amazing.
I was very grateful that Lenyn gave us some comps and that we got to go see it, and overall, I would gladly go see it again.
Bret and I have talked about perhaps going to one more showing, before it closes, and maybe getting a proper meal next door at the delicious restaurant there, Birra’s, so, maybe we will, and I can talk about it in the daily blog journey that is my life, and my life on Blogmas.
And this has been my review of The Christmas Carol as presented by The Alley Theatre.
Overall it was great, 9/10 4.5 out of five stars, and would glad go see again. Would even be willing to pay.
I hope you all have gotten to take in a bit of art, and perhaps even thematic art, presented by local artists, this holiday season, but there is still time if you haven’t, so call around your local community theatres, you would be amazed with the amazing shows you can see in community theatres.
Anyways, thanks so much for reading!