‘Christmas Carol’— A Lovely Show That Just Lacks Chime…..

By Ernest  Kearney  —  David Mynne’s one-man show of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations knocked me off my feet last year.  Sadly, his solo rendering of A Christmas Carol, also by Dickens, merely shoved me a little.  This was not the fault of Mynne himself, who is a consummate performer and thoroughly entertaining. 

Rather it was his choice of material.  Dickens’ tale of a youth’s hardscrabble life in London at the dawning of the Industrial Age is grim and gritty and locked in the harsh realities of the day.  In his one-man show of this epic, somewhat, autobiographical novel Mynne’s fantastic imaginings were able to capture and convey the grim, gritty and harsh reality of Dickens’ work brilliantly.

But A Christmas Carol offers a different challenge.   Here the work is one of remarkable imagination and fantasy, and Mynne’s own doesn’t serve to communicate the words of Dickens so much as to compete with them.  

Mynne’s bare bone approach which served to transport the epic quality of Great Expectations so superbly, is hamstrung here.  Minimal lighting and a barrenness of both sound and music underplays that which will not tolerate being underplayed, and hence he falters in capturing the wondrous essence of the three ghosts of Christmas and a man’s spiritual redemption that spans one magical night.

Not that the evening is not without merit or Mynne not a magnificent artist, but the material does not allow his true artistry to shine.

And that would have been a truly delightful Christmas present for everyone.

Oh, and for parents who bring their whiny children to the theatre, big chunks of coal stuffed into their….stockings.

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The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
Presented
A Christmas Carol
In A Special Run
Dec. 4 — 8
At The
Lovelace Studio Theatre

Directed by Simon Harvey
Performed by David Mynne
Adapted by Andrew McPherson
Additional script by Simon Harvey and David Mynne

Written by

An award-winning L.A. playwright and rabble-rouser of note who has hoisted glasses with Orson Welles, been arrested on three continents and once beat up Charlie Manson. His first play, "Among the Vipers" was a semi-finalist in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition and was featured in the Carnegie-Mellon Showcase of New Plays. It was produced at the NPT Theater in Ashland, Oregon and Los Angeles’ celebrated Odyssey Ensemble Theatre. His following play, “The Little Boy Who Loved Monsters” was produced at The Hollywood Actors Theater, where he earned praise from the Los Angeles Times for his “…inordinately creative writing.” The play went on to numerous other productions including Berlin’s The Black Theatre under the direction of Rainer Fassbinder who wrote in his program notes of Kearney, “He is a skilled playwright, but more importantly he is a dangerous one.” Ernest Kearney has worked as literary manager or as dramaturge for among others The Hudson Theater Guild, Nova Diem and the Odyssey Ensemble Theatre, where he still serves on the play selection committee. He has been the recipient of two Dramalogue Awards and a finalist or semi-finalist, three times, in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition. His work has been performed by Michael Dunn, Sandra Tsing Loh, Jack Colvin and Billy Bob Thornton, and to date, either as playwright or director, he has upwards of a hundred and thirty productions under his belt, including a few at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater as puppeteer. After a wild and misspent youth, which lasted well into middle age, Kearney has settled down and is focusing on his writing, as well as living happily ever after with his lovely wife Marlene. Ernest’s stage reviews and social essays can be found at TheTVolution.com and workingauthor.com. Follow him on Facebook.

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