The holiday season is upon us and with that comes traditions. For thousands of San Franciscans a trip to the American Conservatory Theater to take in A Christmas Carol, is one of the most enjoyable traditions of the season. The Dickens classic is now in its 36th year at the intimate theater on Geary Street and the audience continues to grow. It was no different on opening night this year as the lobby of the theater bustled with activity before the performance began.
This particular adaption at ACT began its run in 2005. Over the years the show has been performed a staggering 1,000 times before an audience of 800,000. Dickens words have stood the test of time. His characters are synonymous with Christmas, every one has encountered a real life Scrooge, and the message of the story rings true today. But without great performances the copy can fall flat. Fortunately for the ACT theater goers the performances weren’t lacking. In fact James Carpenter, who had the honor of playing Ebenezer Scrooge, nearly stole the show.
Carpenter played his role perfectly. Equal parts cold and humorous. He knew what he was doing up there, to say the least. His cast mates complimented him perfectly and were equally as talented. The Ghost of Marley was spooky, but not spooky enough to give the younger audience members nightmares. And Bob Cratchit had the audience laughing with his quick wit.
This was a top notch production, which included the Ghost of Christmas Present flying over the other actors on stage and an elaborate Marley costume that had audience members leaning forward.
A Christmas Carol endures because it conjures up warm memories and still reminds us of what’s truly important. The show was excellent and shouldn’t be missed. A night out on the town with family and friends in a gorgeous theater watching talented actors perform a classic is something everyone should experience at least once. It’s worth the trip to ACT to take in the show, start a new tradition and see what all the buzz is about.