Entertainment » Theatre

The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge

by Joe Siegel
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Monday Dec 3, 2018
John Campbell, Chris Verleger and Alex Aponte in "The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge," which runs through December 16 at the Attleboro Community Theatre.
John Campbell, Chris Verleger and Alex Aponte in "The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge," which runs through December 16 at the Attleboro Community Theatre.  

If you ever wondered what happened after Ebenezer Scrooge discovered the spirit of Christmas at the end of "A Christmas Carol," then Attleboro Community Theatre has the answer.

Mark Brown's "The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge" is a sequel of sorts to Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol."

One year after being visited by his deceased partner Jacob Marley (John Campbell) and the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present, and Future, the miser Scrooge (Alex Aponte) puts them on trial.

Scrooge is suing these otherworldly beings for breaking and entering, kidnapping, slander, pain and suffering, infliction of emotional distress and attempted murder. The defendants have come to trial in the courtroom of Judge Stanchfield R. Pearson (Scott Domenici). The hapless Bailiff Connolly (Christopher Verleger) tries to keep a tight rein on the chaos.

Scrooge also seems to have forgotten the lessons he learned that fateful night and become stingy again. But he may have something up his sleeve...

The ghosts, represented by the opportunistic lawyer Solomon Rothschild (Chris Sabatino), are grilled by Scrooge, who has decided to serve as prosecutor. It's a rather absurd premise, but it's a holiday show so I will let that pass.

Anyway, lots of witnesses are called, including The Ghosts of Christmas Past (Cadence Preston) and Future; Bob Cratchit (Shawn Perry), Scrooge's handsome nephew Fred (Martin Caron); community activist Miss Wainwright (Lori Perry); and his lost love Belle (Kelly Berry).

Under the capable direction of Jeanne Smith and Anthony Paola, the large group of actors perform admirably.

Aponte gets laughs when mocking his courtroom opponents and has a memorable emotional breakdown when he sees Belle again.

Verleger steals scenes with ingenious comic timing and has some terrific sight gags.

Sabatino nails the unctuousness of Rothschild, who wears a yarmulke and brings a Menorah into the courtroom.

Lauren Sparks is highly entertaining as the translator for the Ghost of Christmas Future (Jay Dilisio), a masked phantom who communicates mostly with grunts and groans. Sparks and Dilisio get some of the show's biggest laughs.

This is also a marvelous looking show. I loved the splendor of the London courtroom, which is simply gorgeous. The costumes and makeup designs were truly dazzling, particularly for Marley. Resembling the goth member of a heavy metal band, Campbell milks the character for all he's worth and is one of the show's highlights.

Where "The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge" falls short is its failure to capture the joy of Dickens' classic story. Scrooge had a wonderful redemption arc in "A Christmas Carol." It was heartwarming to see him rediscover his inner humanity. This time, he doesn't really change all that much so there's no real uplift at the end.

However, the cast is so engaging and the technical wizardry so impressive, the show is worth a trip to the theater. Even a curmudgeon like Scrooge would find plenty to savor.

"The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge" runs through December 16. Attleboro Community Theatre. 71 North Main Street. Attleboro, MA. For tickets, call 508-226-8100 or go to www.attleborocommunitytheatre.com

Joe Siegel has written for a number of other GLBT publications, including In newsweekly and Options.


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