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A Christmas Carol

Through Dec. 21

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A Christmas Carol
Say what you will about Christmas productions — that they’re overly sentimental, moralistic, and repetitive — but there must be a reason that we continue to buy tickets each year for shows like The Nutcracker and A Christmas Carol. For those who’ve been trapped under a boulder for the last 150 years, A Christmas Carol is Charles Dickens’ classic tale of the curmudgeonly old miser Ebenezer Scrooge and his transformation into a generous, benevolent man after he gets the dickens (pardon the pun) scared out of him by a bunch of ghosts. Call it nostalgia perhaps, or escapism, but there’s something infinitely enjoyable about watching Scrooge get his wake-up call, and even more so when all of Dickens’ 31 characters are performed by one spritely man, Jeff Garrett. “With this show, more than any other I’ve ever worked on, you really get to watch the audiences’ eyes light up,” said Garrett. “It’s as if the ritual of seeing Dickens’ classic masterwork on stage is a chance for people to reinvigorate their passion for the season and remember that kindness and giving are at the heart of the holiday.” Garrett embodies each character with exemplary personality and force. As the fettered apparition of Marley, Garrett was palpably terrifying, not just to Scrooge, but to audience members as well (all right, fine, maybe it was just me). And his rendition of the martyred, yet relentlessly optimistic Tiny Tim was sweet and touching. That Garrett can do so much with so little is a testament to his skill and enthusiasm. And though it may be cheesy, in these trying times, the message of goodwill-toward-all is nothing to “bah humbug” about. $20-$28
Berkeley City Club 2315 Durant Ave., Berkeley (map)


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