I have a particular fondness for Charles Dickens and have seen several productions of "A Christmas Carol" at McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ, at the Civic Theatre in Allentown, PA, as well as a performance by Gerald Dickens in Bethlehem, PA. The latter, who is the great-grandson of the author offered an inimitable narration of bits of the play, but he certainly didn't enact the play. I have also read the book countless times and seen every possible movie rendition ever made--at least in the English language.
The center is without architectural whimsy, the theatre rather small and plain. The play was rather bare bones, as well, in terms of scenery and sets. But the cast--oh, the cast! Each role was played with such relish, such enthusiasm, such joy that so captured the central message of redemption that I found myself smiling throughout the entire performance. Marley's Ghost was my particular favorite.
We were able to thank some of the actors who mingled with the small crowd after the applause died down, and I told Mr. Scrooge I had never seen the play acted with so much heart.
We left the theatre feeling warmly toward all of mankind--and what better gift at Christmastime?