Hedgerow infuses its annual ‘A Christmas Carol’ with fresh dose of magic

Owen Corey as Fred and Lisa Villamil as Fred’s wife and Zoran Kovcic as Scrooge in a scene from Hedgerow Theatre’s 2017 production of “A Christmas Carol”. Photo by Ashley LaBonde

By Margie Royal

This year many area theatre companies are staging “A Christmas Carol” so the Delco Culture Vulture team will be reviewing several to keep our readers informed about their holiday show options.

Hedgerow Theatre opened its production of “A Christmas Carol” last night. For 25 years, Hedgerow Theatre has staged Charles Dickens’ tale of the Christmas Eve redemption of miserly Ebenezer Scrooge. This year, Jared Reed adapts and directs the production, and his adaptation nicely incorporates much of Dickens’ own language. He also fluidly stages the scenes and his talented core ensemble of Susan Wefel, Owen Corey, Stacy Skinner, Lisa Villamil, Shaun Yates and Matthew Windham wonderfully bring to life the many characters in Dickens’ story. Zoran Kovcic returns as Scrooge, making a very believable transition from a cold, self-centered man to one inspired and transformed to use his time well for the betterment of the world. Shaun Yates also gives us a humble, seemingly weak Bob Crachitt who reveals Bob Crachitt’s strength in his love for his family and appreciation for the non-material gifts of life. Owen Corey creates a charming Fred. Lisa Villamil, Susan Wefel, Stacy Skinner do a good job bringing to life many different ladies in Scrooge’s life.  This core team of actors is joined by a rotating cast of young actors. On opening night Maisie Smith played Fan, Emily Sampson played Martha, Kayla Stunzi was the Ghost of Christmas Past, Ahmad Lopes was Peter, Hunter Stunzi was Tiny Tim and Charlotte Taylor was the Turkey Boy.
Shaun Yates also was the set designer and his moveable set pieces which define Scrooge’s office and bedroom are well done and nicely lit by Jared Reed. Kate Sparacio’s sound design is also well chosen; enhancing the snippets of Christmas carols sung by the cast which often bridge the scene transitions. The magic of this story has been freshly and wonderfully infused into this production thanks to Prop Designer Essie Windham and Costume Designer Elizabeth Hanson. The costumes and masks worn by the Ghost of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future have been terrifically reimagined and injected with fresh surprises that will likely surprise and delight audiences who make seeing Hedgerow’s annual production a holiday tradition. Ms. Windham also designed the London street scene backdrop which covers the back wall of the theatre for most of the show. The acting, direction and lighting design has always generally been a strength of Hedgerow’s ‘Carol’ throughout its 25 year holiday run, but this year the impressive talents of a visual artist like Ms. Windham takes the experience of seeing this show to a new and delightful level.

The show plays through December 24 at Hedgerow Theatre, 64 Rose Valley Road, Media, Pa. For tickets and a complete list of show times, visit www.hedgerowtheatre.org.