Writer/director/performers Hawken Paul and Jeffrey Nolan play a couple of London street urchins named Martin and Edmund, who proceed to tell the story of A Christmas Carol, playing all of the roles, except for those played by audience members. Hawken/Martin plays Scrooge and a few other characters, Jeffrey/Edmund plays Cratchit, all of the ghosts, and more, both actors deftly changing accents and physicality to create new characters. Audience members play Dick Wilkins, Fezziwig party guests, Cratchit children, and Marley. But don't worry, those roles are on a volunteer basis, you won't be pulled up on stage unwillingly (but if you don't want to be part of the show, don't sit in the front row or on the center aisle because you may be talked to and asked questions). It's a risky move - Jeffrey and Hawken are basically doing improv with volunteers who likely have no training or experience with improv. But it works because they're good at taking whatever the volunteer does or doesn't say, and does or doesn't do, and making it funny. So if you like that sort of thing - raise your hand and don't be afraid to say the wrong thing, because there is no wrong thing (trust me, there were lots of weird things said in the show that I saw, that didn't necessarily fit with the story, but it worked).
|Martin and Edmund (Hawken Paul and Jeffery Nolan)
(photo credit @verygoodchristmascarol Instagram)
The strength of this production of A Christmas Carol, and what sets it apart from others, is in the participatory storytelling and community feeling of it, which really harkens back to theater and storytelling traditions of old. Kudos to these young artists for creating a show for themselves and doing it in a way that engages audiences and creates a fun casual atmosphere.
*Read about all of the holiday shows I've seen this year here, and listen to the Twin Cities Theater Bloggers holiday preview episode of our podcast Twin Cities Theater Chat here.