Columbus Alive - December 4, 2003

Theater Reviews

"Marley's Ghost"
Tripleforce Arts Center
Through December 20

Dickens penned A Christmas Carol 160 years ago, and it's been adapted and reprised hundreds of times since. With some of the last few decades' offerings headed up by the likes of Bill Murray and Kermit the Frog, it's little wonder playwright Jeff Goode decided to reel us back to the source material with a prequel based on that old chain-draggin' apparition, Jacob Marley. Pantheatrics has the distinction of presenting the world premiere of Goode's new play, Marley's Ghost: Another Christmas Carol, in the home they've found this year at the Tripleforce Artistic Center in Hilliard.

While the company is dedicated to new and innovative work, Marley's Ghost is no daring rewrite, like, for instance, Madlab's Comrades' Christmas Carol, in which the classic tale was spun off violently to postmodern sensibilities. Goode, who has written for network and cable TV giants including Disney, has instead created a work plotted faithfully to Dickens' original in a comic style any Mickey Mouseketeer could appreciate.

The action opens with Marley's funeral, where only Michael Wilson's convincing Scrooge is in attendance. Afterwards, Marley's ghost (Rene Saxton) is dragged from the grave to face a tribunal of three spirits, who (you guessed it) later comprise the trio that torments Scrooge. They commence to dredge up incriminating scenes from his past that put Ebenezer's to shame. Most visceral are the flashbacks of young Marley (James Logan) driving young Scrooge (Isaac Nippert) to financial obsession. The story's end cleverly dovetails into the beginning of Dickens' tale.

With short scenes-within-scenes populated by more characters than players, many of the troupe had to work double duty-most notably Courtney DeCosky, who ably managed four separate roles.

For a separate admission, those desiring a racier holiday comedy can stay seated for performances of Goode's The Eight: Reindeer Monologues, immediately following Marley's Ghost. For info, click to
-Josh White