By Ed Malin
Blessed Unrest, that experimental theater company known for choreography and classics, is now staging A Christmas Carol. The production runs through December 31st at the New Ohio. Adapted by Matt Opatrny from the novel by Charles Dickens, this poignant show is both familiar and, thanks to Jessica Burr’s direction and choreography, a step beyond. On a mostly bare stage, with things such as doors carried on and off by the cast between scenes, we see Ebenezer Scrooge have something like a “4-D” experience involving spirits, noise, juggling, perspective shift, stilts, and much, much more.
While long passages of the original tale abound, the deft ensemble does an outstanding job of using contemporary speech to get the audience to connect to isolated Ebenezer. Holiday schmaltz-pop is played on the ukulele. At one point, the characters ask each other what kind of insect a “humbug” is. And then there’s the poultry delivery person (Nathan Richard Wagner), a Cockney’s Cockney, whom, sadly, no one can understand. Dining scenes are absolutely brilliant. The audience’s bird’s-eye view is achieved by having the actors recline on stage around a vertically-oriented table, drinking out of cups with magnetic bottoms. Constant stage activity, cheerful chucking of apples, much joyful dancing and the occasional “Happy Hanukkah” greeting continually make this production a joy to watch.