A Christmas Carol Murder
By A.S. Waterman
Directed by Heather Hensley
Review by Keith Waits
Entire contents copyright © 2018 by Keith Waits. All rights reserved.
Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol has stood the test of time to become the most classic Christmas story ever written because it is not afraid to embrace the human heart of darkness. Loneliness, poverty, despair – the only thing missing is murder.
A.S. Waterman’s script for A Christmas Carol Murder takes care of that. As the play opens, we witness a dress rehearsal for a stage production of the Dickens tale in which the actor playing Ebenezer Scrooge, Sidney (John Heffley), has been killed, shot in the chest. In spite of this, he is on stage playing the part of the miserly misanthrope, blissfully unaware that he is deceased until he realizes that the other actors are ignoring him.
Once the truth becomes clear, Sidney is visited by the ghost of Harry Zimmerman (Joe Monroe), who was killed only two weeks earlier by mobsters. He leads Sidney on a journey akin to Scrooge’s long dark night of the soul. A journey that will reveal who pulled the trigger.
His costars were not very fond of Sidney, although the litany of complaints doesn’t rise to the level of motivation for murder. Waterman’s dialogue is a catalog of backstage carping, but what is the secret that prompts the homicide? Waterman hides her clues well.
Director Heather Hensley elicits a relaxed, improvisational feeling from her ensemble, and Joe Monroe is a standout. He lends Harry a distinct swagger that is a comic delight, particularly when he enters in an absurd version of the iconic Ghost of Christmas Present fur-trimmed green frock. Monroe leans into the humor and owns the moment with assurance.
That there is no detective to solve the crime is a hint that Waterman is employing the Christmas Carol plotline for more than just structure and holiday connection. The evening’s resolution takes a turn into the supernatural that may have you believing again in Santa Claus.
Featuring: Ryan Beyer, Rebecca Byars, John Heffley, Gage Holmes, Joe Monroe, and Francesca Socolick.
A Christmas Carol Murder
Fridays, November 30, December 21 & January 4,
Saturdays, November 17 thru December 22 and January 5
Seating at 6:30 / Show starts at 7:00
WhoDunnit Murder Mystery Theater
At The Downtown Bristol
614 West Main Street
Louisville, KY 40202
Keith Waits is a native of Louisville who works at Louisville Visual Art during the days, including being the host of LVA’s Artebella On The Radio on WXOX 97.1 FM / ARTxFM.com, but spends most of his evenings indulging his taste for theatre, music and visual arts. His work has appeared in Pure Uncut Candy, TheatreLouisville, and Louisville Mojo. He is now Managing Editor for Arts-Louisville.com.