A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

SRJC’s “A Christmas Carol”: Fantastic, with a few hiccups

Tom Chown
In SRJC Theatre Arts musical spin on “A Christmas Carol,” Alanna Weatherby, who plays the Ghost of Christmas Past, sings with a phenomenal voice and carries an impeccable British accent throughout the play.

After seeing Santa Rosa Junior College Theatre Arts’s fantastic performance of “Clue,” I was excited to see what they would bring to the table with a full musical version of the classic story, “A Christmas Carol.” While the production didn’t entirely live up to my expectations, I still thoroughly enjoyed the show.

To start with, the set lived up to my positive first impression. It depicted a street view, with buildings and what seemed to be alleys leading offstage. At the back of the set stood an overpass with stairs leading up to it. I was awestruck at the visual texture work but worried that the street elements would take away from the illusion of changing locations with each scene. 

This fear was unfounded. Although the buildings on the side of the stage were static, the set pieces cast members brought out or lowered from above the stage effectively gave the illusion of scenes taking place in different locations and keeping my attention away from the permanent street elements.

Moving on to the acting, Justin Smith did a really great job bringing the lead character, Ebenezer Scrooge, to life. His facial expressions painted a clear picture of fear, anger and disgust, while his physical movements and body language added an excellent emphasis to his line delivery.

Alanna Weatherby, who played both the Ghost of Christmas Past and the Lamplighter, was phenomenal in every aspect of her roles. Her singing voice was the best of the entire cast, her British accent was perfect for both talking and singing, and her physical acting was just as believable as Smith’s.

Ezra Hernandez was fantastic as the Ghost of Christmas Present. While he also played the Sandwich Board Man, he tended to blend in with the ensemble during those scenes. As the Ghost, however, he very much stood out, bringing a boisterous presence to the stage which greatly contrasted to that of Smith’s in an incredibly fun way.

The acting was solid overall, and even the background actors were engaging if you looked away from the main action, without distracting from the story.

The dance choreography by Tamara Grose was amazing as well. Actors either danced in place or across the stage in eye-catching ways.

The lighting was dynamic, and perfectly reflected changes in the tone of the actors or changed colors as the actors walked, swayed or danced. 

With all the positives out of the way, there were aspects to the show that were lacking.

First and most egregious were the accents. The show takes place in London, but, other than Weatherby, most of the cast members were either inconsistent with their accents or didn’t use one at all. 

Furthermore, the musical aspects of the show could have been stronger. In a few instances, the orchestra overpowered the actors, and some lyrics from the ensemble were hard to understand due to the group being slightly unsynchronized.

Even with the minor problems, the show was still fantastic. Only a few times I couldn’t understand the ensemble, and the singing was perfectly clear when it was one or a few voices at a time. As a result, the actors were able to effectively tell the story and get the message it was trying to tell across.

Despite its issues, the show was still highly entertaining. Because of the great acting, standout dancing and effective portrayal of the classic story, SRJC Theatre Arts’s performance of “A Christmas Carol” is very much worth going to see.

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About the Contributor
Lucas Cadigan-Carranza
Lucas Cadigan-Carranza is in his fourth semester at The Oak Leaf. He has been at SRJC for much longer, having already earned his degrees in English, game programming and humanities. While not usually an overachiever, he has decided to go for the journalism major as well due to the subject providing a much greater interest. He has enjoyed his time as The Oak Leaf's Theatre Arts reporter but also very much enjoys talking about video games.

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