Some holiday events are just worth seeing over and over again. The recent production of A Christmas Carol by the Four Season Theatre Company in Smithfield was a prime example of that.
Sure, the show is sentimental and corny, but so is Christmas itself and the two are practically inseparable in the minds of Cache Valley audiences by this time. So why not resign oneself to wallowing in tradition and do it in grand style?
This was the seventh time that the Four Seasons folks have staged A Christmas Carol in the past decade, so they could probably have delivered a decent version of this show in their sleep. But there was nothing sleepy about this production under the direction of AnnAlyse Chidester.
Instead, audiences were treated to generous helpings of the traditional theatrical strengths of Four Seasons productions including strong performances, excellent singing, lavish costuming, dramatic set designs and spectacular lighting effects.
Those usual assets were enhanced by the addition of all new choreography by Ms. Chidester. Much of that innovation came in the form of stately waltzes and other forms of dancing appropriate the play’s Victorian Era setting, but a surprise tap dance number that closed Act 1 really brought down the house.
Four Seasons veteran Scott Hunsaker played the misanthrope Scrooge. As always, Hunsaker’s early characterization was so convincingly unrepentant that his later transformation was genuinely heart-warming.
Walker McKenna’s portrayal of Bob Cratchit provided both a cheerfully optimistic counterpoint to Hunsaker’s gloom and touchingly tender tenor vocals.
A lovely duet by John McVey and Jessica Lewis in the roles of a young Scrooge and his soon-to-be lost fiancée Emily was another vocal highlight of the show.
Young Brookie Anderson’s all-too brief performance as the Ghost of Christmas Past was also noteworthy for its shining sincerity.
Finally, Kody Rash was back again in this production, playing his traditional role as the Ghost of Christmas Present with all the boundless good nature that the part deserved.
The only minor flaw in this production was that even the mammoth stage at Sky View High School was sometimes unable to comfortably contain the huge cast and chorus of A Christmas Carol. On those occasions, the Four Seasons folks looked like they were disconcertingly focused on avoiding collisions. Luckily, those mob scenes were usually a preamble to another example of the kind of thrilling and thunderous choral singing that is another trademark of Four Seasons productions.