Sunday, November 28, 2021


By Jane Primerano

The story of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is one of the most familiar holiday tales.

Less familiar is Stephen Temperley’s adaptation, now on stage at Centenary University’s Lackland Center for the Performing Arts through Dec. 12.

The play follows Dickens’ storyline: Scrooge’s miserly behavior, Bob Cratchit’s large family and overcrowded flat, and Marley’s ghost, along with the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. It also emphasizes what has brought Scrooge to the place he’s in: shivering, eating poorly, holding on to as much of his money as he can, making his transition slightly less jarring.

In an interesting twist, the story is narrated by an adult Timothy Cratchit.

Once again, Matthew Imhoff’s set is an integral part of the story, serving as Scrooge and Marly’s office, Scrooge’s house, London streets and even the Cratchit’s hovel.

Carl Wallnau (right) directs and portrays Ebenezer Scrooge with delightful misanthropy, often darkly funny. Stephen Davis, also of the Centenary faculty, is the narrator/Tim in a flawless London accent and aspect.

It was very pleasing to see Lia Antonlini-Lid (below, left), who choreographs so much of what CSC presents, actually on stage in the dual role of Mrs. Dilber and Christmas Past, a chance for her to remind the audience of her dancing chops.

Chris Robertson made his CSC debut as Fred, and I hope to see more of him. I am also looking forward to more of Centenary student Kayla Yepez, who appeared as his wife and a Cratchit child.

The costumes were appropriate to the time, and the ghostly costumes quite effective, although I found Marley’s ghost a bit clownish. The only sour note was the use of a puppet as Tiny Tim, possibly a nod to the pandemic, but just not on key.

The music and the lighting effects where Scrooge’s clock becomes and window and myriad special effects were exceptional. On one or two occasions, the music was a bit loud over the dialogue, but that’s the type of thing fixed in subsequent performances.

In all, as usual, CSC hit a home run.

For times and tickets, contact the box office at 908-979-0900 or at The box office is open daily until 5 p.m. and for two hours before each performance.