Due to its huge success in last year’s attempt to create a Christmas tradition, Globe Live and 9 Works Theatrical once again opted to mount Charles Dicken’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ at the Globe Iconic Bonifacio High Street Amphitheater, Bonifacio Global City to which it actually opened on December 7 and has remaining shows on the 21st-22nd at 8pm; on Christmas Day—the 25th, the show is at 7pm; while on the 26th-27th at 8:00pm.
Like the previous year—it never failed to bring the kind of magic for its audience. Despite the combination of cast members with Miguel Faustmann reprising his role as Ebenezer Scrooge, which he already did effortlessly in the past (even with other theater productions).
But this year’s version, though a more reduced staging compared from the Christmas 2016 presentation—Robbie Guevara still managed to create a show that has more grit, more depth and more spirit at the same time.
Smaller but Better and Tighter.
To compare the staging last year—the show had to adjust to its new amphitheater layout. From a Thrust setup with two island-like stages on the left and was connected by two ramp bridges; it currently opted to have a Prosecnium-type of staging.
Surely the experience was totally different from its first version. Though ‘ambitious’ it maybe—the one last year—personally, I kind of like the way it was told and staged. Perhaps those who were not too familiar with the musical—the audience may get lost and distracted with too much stuff happening. But it was one for the books—something that viewers have missed this year. It was as if I was really transported to England’s Victorian era.
The latest production still tried to paint such scenario even with the given restrictions. The one thing that fascinated me was the way how Ed Lacson designed the stage. It gave an effect of an aqua snowball paper weight since the houses were not erected in its usual image, but a bit bent or distorted. Seemingly, the design suggests the characters onstage are all inside that popular table décor.
As a whole, though smaller—this latest Guevara-directed musical—it is better and tighter. It gave me a different sense of enjoyment.
New Cast Members are Equally Great as Before.
It is a guarantee that the actors picked to take on the characters in this new show like Noel Rayos as Jacob Marley and Mr. Fezziwig, Franco Laurel as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Nico Dans as the Ghost of Christmas Present, and Rissey Reyes as the Ghost of Christmas Future are as equally great as Ariel Reonal, Norby David, Ela Lisondra and Franz Imperial who were the first ghosts.
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The night I watched I saw show, Elai Estrella as Tiny Tim pierced my heart as soon as he opened his mouth to sing his part. While Simone Martinez, daughter of Shiela Valderrama and Lorenz Martinez made a remarkable debut in this production as Fan.
Perhaps what made this year’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ cast more exciting is the fact that some of the ‘Newsies’ cast like Vyen Villanueva, Jon Abella, Jourdan Bartolome, MC dela Cruz, Joni Galeste and Kendrick Ibasco are in the show. PJ Rebullida made sure that the choreography is still something that the audience would enjoy.
Laurence Mossman suits well as the Young Ebenezer and Arman Ferrer as Fred as well. Both actors are a delight to the Filipino scrutinizing ears. JP Basco as Young Marley, Josh Ramirez as John William Scrooge and Peachy Atilano-Guevara as Mrs. Mops (a great return after quite sometime) had their own moments, too.
A Salute to this Initiative.
Christmas may at times be very commercial, but Globe Live and 9 Works Theatrical didn’t let go of the commitment to the ‘good work’ they both have started the previous year.
The story of Scrooge is a nagging truth about how people have become ‘cold’ as the winter season approaches. Dickens described him as unfeeling and has a ‘frosty rime on his head’. Even these days—such personality is not hard to miss. People have turned to be skeptic toward their fellow humans and slowly lost the reason to celebrate the real essence of Christmas.
Maybe through this huge initiative of these two giants—it could pave the way for those who have turned to be ‘distant’ and ‘unaffected’ about what this nation have slowly morphed into and will serve as a reminder that there is still hope in rising again and be more loving even if it is too difficult to do.
The selling of handcrafted, star-shaped trinkets for the Hero Foundation is a simple response to make the season more meaningful.
And oh, the wreath that was hoisted in the finale of the musical, covering the Big Ben-like clock that can easily be identified by the audience is also a great imagery about how time must be spent this Yuletide season—be a channel of blessings, a purveyor of hope.
Catch ‘A Christmas Carol’ on its remaining shows and discover the miracle within. It would be an ideal alternative way of bonding with families, relatives and friends at this time of the year by listening to the music of Allan Menken as accompanied by an orchestra under Daniel Bartolome.