I must say that the ninth annual production of A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story, presented by Community Players at Cedar Ridge Community of Christ at 3220 Bell Rd., absolutely blew my mind.

Upon entering the theater, I was simply expecting at yet another church Christmas play that would warm the heart, but not open my eyes, to a brand new vision of a timeless work of art like this Dickens classic. Boy was I wrong.

When the curtains opened and I first saw the magnificent six story stage, I was immediately drawn into the story. Then, when the players began speaking in haunting yet impeccable British accents, I was even further impressed.

As the play progressed and the production incorporated beautiful choreography, brilliant harmonic singing and magic literally happening before my eyes, I forgot I was in a quaint church and felt more like I was on Broadway enjoying a professionally produced show.

And that is what David Hutson, director, adaptation writer, producer, set and light designer has proven to be; a professional with talent that far exceeds what many of us would expect from such a small production in such a small church.

The collaboration of the actors was unparalleled, and Garrett Steele, who played Ebenezer Scrooge, was astounding. The crowd watched him transform from a mean old miser into a character who has learned the err of his ways, finally ready to embrace the Christmas spirit, and life in general, with a brand new perspective.

The rest of the cast was super talented as well, and not one of the actors missed their mark even once during the entire production. It was breathtaking to see actors of such varied ages and experience working so mesmerizingly well together.

I must say this:  not to sound over the top, but for the whole of the play I truly felt like I was floating through the haunted imagination of Charles Dickens himself. Hutson decided to produce this adaptation in a style called "story theater," and he stayed as true to Dickens’ original text as possible. His efforts truly paid off, as this is one of the best plays I’ve seen in a long time, perhaps ever. And I don't say that lightly.

The only negative experience I can muster up about the performance was there were too many empty chairs in the audience. If you enjoy great theater, tell your loved ones to grab their coats and accompany you to an evening of sheer brilliance. What better way to celebrate the holiday season?

Remaining show times for A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story are Dec. 8-9 and 14-16. To find out more about the Community Players and this show, visit www.communityplayers.biz.

Photo courtesy of Red Bull

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