As the heat waves approach in the true Floridian “winter” fashion, Pope John Paul II High School is keeping the Christmas spirit alive with their production of “A Fairytale Christmas Carol.”
Written by Flip Kobler and Cindy Marcus, “A Fairytale Christmas Carol” is a comical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. Like the literary classic, “A Fairytale Christmas Carol” follows the story of the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, who also happens to be the Big Bad Wolf. When the fairytale Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future appear in his bedroom one Christmas Eve however, Scrooge begins to learn the error of his ways as classic fairytale characters come to life.
Matthew Gavan, playing the role of the Big Bad Wolf, exhibited a strong stage presence that captured his true disdain for the holidays, from every “Bah, humbug!” to each scornful expression of disgust. Countering this natural grouchiness onstage was Paige Gray, who played the role of Mother Goose. Despite being a student, Gray never ceased in finding a motherly disposition, often speaking and moving with amusing voice and dramatic hand gestures. The contrasting elements of Gray’s bubbly characterization and Gavan’s sarcastic apathy helped accentuate the more subtle qualities in one another, and often led to well-delivered humor.
Charlie Metzger, playing the role of the penniless Philip Charming (now Scrooge’s assistant), featured natural and energetic stage movements that effectively encompassed his joyful, fatherly figure. Jaelyne Vigoa, playing the role of the sickly, yet hopeful, Tabitha Charming, played off of Metzger quite well, the two introducing a family dynamic that allowed the moral of the play to be centralized between their relationship as daughter and father. The rest of the family, comprised of Hansel, Gretel, and Cinderella “Cindy” Charming (played by Andrew Birkmann, Alexandria Shumway, and Rebecca Markert, respectively), furthered these softer theatrical elements with comical interactions and gestures.
The Ghost of Christmas Past, better known as Meriwether the Fairy Godmother (Paige Notaras), exhibited an energetic grandmotherly disposition that was both humorous and enjoyable to watch. Countering this positive energy was Jessica Coons as the Queen of Hearts. With brash and bold remarks and gestures, Coons kept the audience laughing with a comically menacing personality. While some actors had trouble maintaining diction and line fluency, this was generally not distracting and improved as the show progressed.
The make-up choices for the Big Bad Wolf and other decorative fairytale creatures were bold and well done, fitting the whimsical nature of the show quite well. The stage crew moved set pieces on and off the stage with fluidity, and often took part in scenes as background characters to blend in. Although small details of costumes seemed to clash with the time period selected, costumes generally captured the distinct personality of each fairytale character successfully.
With charming, energetic characters and hilarious dialogue, Pope John Paul II High School celebrates the approaching holiday season in their production of “A Fairytale Christmas Carol.”