Review: Trinity Rep Returns With Splashy 'Christmas Carol'

by Will Demers

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Thursday November 11, 2021

A scene from Trinity Rep's "A Christmas Carol"
A scene from Trinity Rep's "A Christmas Carol"  

Trinity Repertory Company joins the ever-growing list of Rhode Island theatre organizations ready to get back to some kind of normalcy, and what better way than to launch the 2022 season with "A Christmas Carol?" The time-honored classic gets its yearly facelift after Trinity went dark almost twenty months ago.

This "Carol" is the 45th of these annual production by this Tony award winning theatre. If the Holidays last year felt like going through the motions, seeing this splashy, theatrical affair signals a return to a beloved format with gusto.

Director Joe Wilson, Jr. taps the company's vast talent pool, along with some faces from other local ones. Resident acting company artists Mauro Hantman, Taavon Gamble, and Stephen Thorne play a variety of roles, with Timothy Crowe giving the most inspired performance of Scrooge seen in a long time. Ricardo Pitts-Wiley (Mixed Magic Theatre) and Richard Donelly (The Gamm, Wilbury Theatre) offer their considerable gravitas in a few roles each, respectively. The green cast of young actors includes Michael Curley, Avery Lemieux, and Warnsey Wiggins, Jr. 

Wilson brings to this production his considerable experience; seventeen years as an actor here at Trinity, along with a few trips to Broadway, lends a magic to his work that can be seen as well as felt. From Scrooges' first encounter with dead partner Marley (Pitts-Wiley) to the ghost of Christmas yet to come, the theatrics are fabulous. "Carol" is a ghost story, after all, so audiences' fascination with the spirits will be fully satisfied here. From Ava Gaudet's Ghost of Christmas Past to a hilarious turn by Stephen Thorne as Christmas Present, the lights, sounds, and costumes keep the proceedings grandiose. 

Set designer Sara Brown gives us the most delightful backdrop, adorned with dark woods, stained glass, and, when the changed Scrooge commands, wreaths and garland. Music is very much a focus in this "Carol," with some old standards as well as familiar tunes for those who've seen a Holiday show at Trinity Rep. Taavon Gamble doubles as choreographer, with movements unexpected and totally refreshing, especially while Scrooge is reliving his past. Performed without intermission, this production easily holds the attention of all ages with its inspired theatrics.

Trinity is one of nine companies and performing arts organizations in Rhode Island that require proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 results presented before entering the venue for attendance. Masks are required to be worn at all times unless eating or drinking, but here this venue has currently suspended concessions for the time being. It does not detract from the enjoyment, and both actors and production staff admit to using their masks during rehearsals for the safety of all concerned. 

With commitment to bringing the kind of quality theatre that has delighted local audiences for decades, this is one show that truly cannot be missed, especially as we travel towards something that means more freedoms as far as gathering in larger groups with our fellow human beings is concerned. "A Christmas Carol" is just the thing to launch us into the Holidays: Bright, bombastic, and energetic, with much-needed theatrical touches. Make a night of it with friends or family, they probably need it more than you know.


"A Christmas Carol" is currently running through January 2, 2022 for in person performances, and on-demand streaming available December 6 through January 16th 2022. For information or tickets call 401-351-4242 or visit www.trinityrep.com/carol.