Nola Wheatley & Delaney Cooper. Photo: Company OutCast
Help Keep Arts-Louisville.com Alive! Click Here to DONATE!
A Seussified Christmas Carol
Written by Peter Bloedel
Directed by Rachel Allen
A review by Kate Barry
Entire contents are copyright © 2019 by Kate Barry. All rights reserved.
As I was leaving the Company OutCast current production of A Seussified Christmas Carol, the adorable and spunky cast had lined up in the lobby of the Ivy Tech Community College. Decked out in colorful, glittery tutus, bows, bangles, and frocks, the cast eagerly awaited high fives and bouquets of flowers from parents, guardians, family, and fans. It is Company OutCast’s mission is, in part, to cast non-traditionally and with a cast of thirty actors under the age of eighteen, they clearly met their purpose. With a contemporary take on two separate holiday favorites, A Seussified Christmas Carol was a festive delight for any kind of family.
Blending A Christmas Carol and How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the script is rich with wordplay, puns, and Dr. Seuss rhyme. The vivacious cast brings copious amounts of energy to this performance and proves themselves as a young ensemble, and director Rachel Allen has done a tremendous job catering to the strengths. The staging is simple yet weaves together unified line delivery, well-timed group bouts of laughter, singing, dancing, and even a game of tag with the characters that have become so familiar. And this cast is given individual moments to shine and time in the spotlight!
As that mean one, The Scrooge who bears a strikingly green resemblance to The Grinch, Christopher Smith is playfully grumpy yet wholesome. Smith’s performance is simple and accessible without losing grasp of the humor. He displays the natural ability to play well against his younger co-stars by providing well-timed setups and punch lines. It’s when he plays against the spirits who haunt the Scrooge that he really shines.
As Jake Marley, Lila Schaffer has some fun as the business tycoon turned posthumous hipster. As she appears in doorways and spooks The Scrooge, Schaffer doesn’t miss a moment to be absolutely silly. The fun continues when the other spirits appear. Izzy Cross is feisty as the Ghost of Christmas Past. Complete with a can of magic spray that she is not afraid to use, Cross gives an energetic performance. Ivy Kilgore as the Ghost of Christmas Present literally sparkles and shines. With a high reaching bow in her hair, Ms. Kilgore’s appearance is filled with lasting pep and zest that makes her humorous match for that cantankerous Scrooge. Grace Miller rounds out the spirits as the Ghost of Christmas future and is a hoot in her space-age costume. Miller does well to play up the characters silent presence with clever timing as she points with her laser shooter with warnings of what could come for The Scrooge.
As Narrator 1 and Narrator 2 Nola Wheatley and Delaney Cooper are a whole lot of fun. Dressed in red onsies and blue hair provide vaudevillian appeal guide they guide us through this story that’s “not Seussy, it’s Dickensy.” As Narrator 1, Nola Wheatley is a solid straight man that complements Delaney Cooper’s spirited goofball. As Narrators, these two keep the audience interested, entertained, and laughing throughout the show.
With such a large cast, I could go on and on about the blossoming talent. Hannah Dickens delivers a poignant performance as Bob Cratchit. Caitlin Wheat brings passion to Mrs. Cratchit as their family wishes for a new life. While the program lists two performers as Timmie Loo Hoo, I extend special kudos to the actress who played the part with adorable energy on Friday night. Leni Logston gives a sweet and wholesome performance as Belle, the young lost love of The Scrooge while Landon Siebert delivers the comedy goods as Bed Headed Fred.
A play performed by a large cast of youngsters in a lecture hall at a community college could be frowned upon or judged quite harshly by some. Maybe there were some dropped lines and some actors did not seem focused on the action of the scene. Okay, fine. But throughout the show, I saw parents holding up phones to take pictures, heard murmurs of loved ones talking about their kid on stage with a sense of pride and an overall buzz of excitement filled the space before and after the show. I left feeling sentimental and in a holiday spirit.
A Seussified Christmas Carol
December 5, 6, 7 @ 7:30 PM
December 8 @ 2:00 PM
Ivy Tech Community College
Ogle Hall, Door 8
8204 Highway 311
Sellersburg, Indiana 47172
Kate Barry earned her Bachelors in English with a Theater minor from Bellarmine University in 2008. She has worked with many different companies around town including Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, Bunbury Theater, Louisville Repertory Company, Walden Theater, Finnigan Productions and you have probably purchased tickets from her at that little performing arts center on Main Street as well. In 2012, her short play “PlayList” won festival favorite in the Finnigan Festival of Funky Fresh Fun. She has written for LEO Weekly and TheatreLouisville.com as well. Thanks for reading!