Five Lessons from ‘A Christmas Carol’

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is back at the Max Bell Theatre in a production that is guaranteed to fill your heart with yuletide cheer.

The classic adaptation tells the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge as he is visited by the three ghosts of Christmas who offer the grumpy miser a chance at redemption. This iteration of the Dickens story is the perfect blend of holiday cheer and ghostly suspense.

Director Dennis Garnhum has constructed a very traditional production of this often-performed classic that feels right at home in the Theatre Calgary family. The 19th-century costumes are bursting with personality, the spooky old London set is foggy and evocative and there is enough carolling and snowfall to melt even the hardest of hearts.

Veteran actor Stephen Hair leads the cast as Ebenezer Scrooge, his 28th production starring in the lead role. Hair’s Scrooge has an aloof, classical bearing: his “bah, humbugs” are appropriately gruff and it is a delight to watch him transform from his irritated, bitter self to a giddy eccentric as he embraces the Christmas ghosts’ advice.

Throughout the show, the stage brims with swirling movement, most notably in Scrooge’s visit to his past, which becomes a scene of revelry as the ensemble cast perform a vibrant rendition of 12 Days of Christmas. The entire cast is perfection.

The set offers a panoramic view of the 19th century with extravagant props and moving set pieces flowing on and off the stage. Seamless set changes are barely noticeable thanks to the inclusion of numerous holiday carols.

I can’t think of a better way to kick off the holiday season than with “the best possible version of A Christmas Carol.” The compelling tale of greed, love and charity is filled with music and spectacle and is sure to fill your heart with the spirit of Christmas.

Five lessons from ‘A Christmas Carol’:

1. Learning begins with listening. Initially, Scrooge wants nothing to do with the spirits. But once he realizes they have his best interest at heart, he willingly lets them lead.

2. Bitterness will poison you. Scrooge’s nephew, Fred, is a wise man. He points out that  Scrooge is the only one who loses by turning down his invitation to join in the Christmas merriment.

3. There’s joy in starting over. Scrooge’s turn-around and joyous energy reminds us there’s always hope, if we’re willing to start over.

4. We must be present to win. On Christmas morning Scrooge opens his window and notices life around him instead of only himself.

5. We need to live life to the fullest. When the ghost of Christmas Yet to Come shows Scrooge his headstone he is instantly filled with regrets.


Running time: 2 hrs including intermission

In theatres now until December 24th, 2016

Click here for ticket availability & pricing.

Theatre Calgary’s seasonal tradition Toonies for Turkeys helps lift the production’s theme of giving and kindness.


– Jenna Johnstone

Photo Credit: Theatre Calgary



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