EBENEZER SCROOGE’S BIG SAN DIEGO CHRISTMAS SHOW at The Old Globe is like the perfect serving of espresso; it is a perfectly concentrated shot of holiday fun and festivity, that leaves you full of energy and good cheer as you continue into this holiday season.
Instead of a lengthy or overly sentimental and saccharine version of Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, the BIG show here is a short but sweet one act, that reimages the iconic holiday tale with a comedic, and San Diegan twist. The characters and the tale are all the same, Scrooge (Robert Joy) is still a grumpy old miser, Bob Cratchit (Orville Mendoza) is still his overworked and underpaid assistant, and Tim is still tiny.
Joy is amusingly grumpy, and believably sentimental when confronted with his past, Tiny Tim’s future, and the possibly future that awaits everyone. Dan Rosales, Cathryn Wake, Jacque Wilke, and Mendoza make up the quick-changing characters that make up the rest of the tale.
Mendoza is a sweet Cratchit and a spooky Marley, while Rosales tackles Scrooge’s of all ages, both in school, and as a young entrepreneur, the nephew Fred, as well as Tiny Tim. Wilke is a sentimental Ghost of Christmas Past, and Wake is a cell phone carrying, Bird scooter riding Ghost of Christmas Present. Together they are delightfully funny as the alms collectors.
Directed by Gordon Greenberg (who co-wrote this with Steve Rosen), the play keeps up a comedic pace but doesn’t lose the sweetness or the overall message of the tale. The show is now set in San Diego, and appropriately has references to fish tacos, Trader Joe’s parking, Balboa Park, and Scrooge appropriately lives in Banker’s Hill.
Set design by Adam Koch uses the space in the theatre in the round well, includes lots of props, and works well with the lighting design by Amanda Zieve. The costumes by David Israel Reynoso are period appropriate but also allow for quick changes as needed. Scrooge even dons flip-flops for the holiday celebration, a move which I, as a native San Diegan wholeheartedly can endorse.
It seems appropriate that a story about transformation has found itself transformed into this clever, and high energy show. It’s a nice reminder that fun and silliness are also a part of this holiday celebration.
EBENEZER SCROOGE’S BIG SAN DIEGO CHRISTMAS SHOW is playing at The Old Globe in the Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre through December 29th. For ticket and show time information go to www.theoldglobe.org