Yesterday, mother and I went to see the Vancouver Playhouse’s dark and twisted version of A Christmas Carol. Dickens meets Kafka. The reviews tout this as an original rendering and yeah, original it was. But does original equal good? Okay, some of the concepts were interesting and acceptable like for example: the actors playing furniture and other props as well as playing people. Overall though, the piece had no heart. No soul. And that’s a bad thing for a story which is essentially all about finding just that: heart and soul.
This version seemed to look at the ugly side of everything. Even traditionally “up-beat” scenes, where the characters were cellebrating Christmas, were dark-shadowed and mildly disturbing, Tiny Tim’s family were totally unlikable and verging on demented, and Scrooge’s nephew had an irritating laugh that made him appear to be partially insane. Maybe, and I don’t know this since I never read the book, that’s the way Dickens actually intended it; he did write Bleak House too afterall. Maybe the many film versions of the story are sentimental and romanticized. But I’d still choose them over yesterday's funhouse mirror version showing the distorted and grotesque characters and, judging from the weakened applause at the end, so would many other people in the audience. All in all, we left the theatre feeling disappointed and deffinitely un-cheered.
Today I finished my Chrismas cards. Great relief and just in time too, we have to send to ones to Europe off this week.