Putting You in the Christmas Spirit(s): John D. Huston’s ‘A Christmas Carol’
A timeless story that captures the magic of Christmas in a captivating and uniquely compelling manner. On Sunday, December 17th, I had the pleasure of attending John D. Huston’s A Christmas Carol, presented by Theatre Kingston, to help me get into the Christmas season. Before arriving at the Tett Centre, I had a vague understanding of the classic story created by the brilliant Charles Dickens. I watched the movie as a kid, and to be completely honest, I really only remember watching Mickey’s Christmas Carol which is an unexpectedly fantastic retelling of the story. But I was excited to see what Huston had in store for his retelling of the classic story in this one-man show.
In essence, the story follows Ebenezer Scrooge, a grumpy old man full of hate who, on Christmas Eve, is visited by three ghosts. The ghosts take him to the past, present, and future to open his eyes to the wonders of life, family, and Christmas.
John D. Huston performs brilliantly as he single-handedly retells the beloved story, acting as the narrator and voicing all the different characters. It felt as if I was listening to a live audiobook, but even better with Huston’s masterful talent at capturing the audience’s attention. When narrating, Huston alters his tone and pace of speech given the point in the story. On the other hand, when it is time for characters such as Ebenezer Scrooge or Bob Cratchit to speak, he becomes them, changing his posture and voice to cater to the specific character. In this aspect, he is a virtuoso.
Huston embodies each character with conviction—something I commend given there are a significant number of characters to portray. It’s obvious he puts his heart and soul into the performance, and I was engulfed by him and the story. It is also extremely impressive to have a one-man show run just over one hour and 30 minutes and hold one’s attention the whole time, never missing a beat.
Even though I was engulfed by the performance, there were times when I felt overwhelmed. Huston does a great job of distinguishing the voices of characters, but in scenes where there are a multitude of characters all interacting with each other, I found it overwhelming. It is hard to follow what character is saying what, which led me to a state of confusion on occasion. However, with my faint knowledge of the story beforehand I was able to follow, for the most part, what was occurring.
The show is suitable for the whole family as there were kids and grandparents alike at the performance. The kids may not be able to fully follow what is happening, but it seemed like they all had a great time at the showing I saw.
John D. Huston’s A Christmas Carol is a fantastic show to watch to get you in the Christmas mood. It is a superb retelling of the Christmas classic that will leave you feeling warm inside by its conclusion.