A STINGY miser and cranky old man. A cynic, a usurer, a soul cursed in hell.

How do you deal with someone as despicable as Mr. Scrooge?

Repertory Philippines’ musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol, tells of a greedy man who hates life and people, but unbelievably turns into a generous philanthropist.

Set in London, England in 1853, the story unfolds on Christmas Eve as Ebenezer Scrooge (Michael Williams) greets people by demanding payment of their debts, charging high interests, and giving starvation wages to his clerk, Bob Cratchit (Arnel Carrion).

Scrooge hates Christmas because it only “makes people a year older, and not a day richer.” His bad reputation is known all over the place, and the townspeople, including the children carolers he shooes away, loathe him so much.

In contrast to Scrooge is Cratchit who, although poor, is still very kind and generous to his family and other people. Like Scrooge’s nephew, Harry (Topper Fabregas), he tirelessly understands old Scrooge and sincerely wishes him a happy Christmas.

Meanwhile, Scrooge is visited that night by the ghost of his previous work partner, Jacob Marley (Miguel Faustmann), who arrives from hell bound by long heavy chains. Marley warns him the torture of the next life if he doesn’t repent and change his ways.

Afterwards, Scrooge is visited by three ghosts, who one by one, journeys with him back his past life, his present and his future. The bitter memory of an abandoned orphan and regretful lover, a look at a scornful uncle and employer, and a vision of a life in hell as Lucifer’s right-hand man, unravel in front of Scrooge. The next day, he is overwhelmed by an immense power to change his life wasted on unreasonable accumulation of wealth, and make up for all his countless wrongdoings.

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This beautiful and timeless Christmas story of Dickens was powered by almost all of the most distinguished actors of Repertory. Their highly commendable acting was complemented by their equally admirable musical renditions.

Williams was particularly very effective in his portrayal of Scrooge that his role’s transformation from being wicked to holy was developed evidently in his acting. Rep’s seasoned actors were paralleled in their acting by the young members of the cast, who also evoked humor, sadness, pity and joy from the audience.

The well-made revolving set design, which was very realistic, gave way to smooth transition of scenes. The technical aspect of the play, especially the lighting effects, enhanced the beauty of the performance.

Watching the play is a good treat this Christmas as one is not only enchanted by the perfect adaptation of the story, but also learns to change the Scrooge in one’s heart.

The play runs until December 22 at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium at Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation Plaza in Makati.

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