“A CHRISTMAS CAROL”
Reviewed by Tony Annicone
Mansfield Music and Arts Society current holiday production is a special one man presentation of “A Christmas Carol” adapted from the Dickens original text. “A Ghost Story of Christmas” was performed by Charles Dickens on his American tours between 1842 and 1868 where he traveled by stagecoach and railroad, performing to standing room crowds. His great-great grandson, Gerald Charles Dickens continued his legacy with tours to Boston and other cities in the 1990’s while later on Patrick Stewart performed another one man version on Broadway. Gary Poholek presents his original take on this well known tale which he has been performing and perfecting since 2001. I saw him perform this version twice before and once again Gary delivers a knock out, tour-de-force performance. He now interacts more with the audience but delivers the goods in spades as he plays every single role in this show with brilliant and stunning interpretation of each and every character. Bravo on being the definitive Scrooge for all season!
Gary is dressed in Victorian attire and starts out narrating the story, emphasizing that Marley was dead to begin with, otherwise the good things that follow would not have taken place. After this narration, Gary becomes each one of the characters including Scrooge, Marley, the three ghosts and about 18 more characters. He switches from one to another as if he were the other performer speaking to the former. He is the current day Sybil, a movie that starred Sally Field in which she had multiple personalities. Gary memorized this entire hour and a half script. He uses many different voices as these characters including Ed Wynn when he plays Fezziwig. He interacts with the audience bringing them into the story utterly and completely. He runs the gamut of emotions from comic to poignant and his performance is flawless. Gary brings even the most hard hearted person into the Christmas Spirit with this mesmerizing performance. It is an outstanding piece of theatre. Before the show, local vocalist Kevin Mischley directs and leads fellow vocalists including his lovely wife, Jennifer, his talented children, 11 year old son, Warren and 9 year old, Greta who sings a verse of “Silent Night” splendidly, Brian Gustafson, Shannon Stiles and Ken Butler in several Christmas Carols including “Deck the Halls”, “What Child is This?”, “Silent Night” and “God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen.” The sound is expertly handled by Bruce Webster while the lighting cues are handled expertly by Alan Conway. Both sound and lighting are integral elements in Gary’s transitions from one role to the next. So for “A Christmas Carol” that will amaze and astound you with the multitalented Gary Poholek as Scrooge and company, be sure to catch this one man show in Mansfield. Tell them Tony sent you to catch this enthralling ghost story.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL (9 to 18 December)
Mansfield Music and Arts Society, 377 North Main Street, Mansfield, MA
1(508)339-2822 or www.mmas.org