Discovering this was another show that was being performed via Zoom didn’t thrill me. I’ve tried to watch many shows this year that way and almost none of them have held my attention.
But if I’ve learned nothing from 2020 it’s that anything is possible. And I absolutely loved this show. So much I was still crying when it was over. (Which is a huge compliment from me.)
The basic story is the same as A Christmas Carol: Greedy person treats only employee poorly, lives alone, hates Christmas and then via visits from spirits finds a new appreciation for life. But A Columbus Christmas Carol puts an amazingly modern spin on it. (Some examples; Bob Cratchit is raising Tiny Tim alone and has to work a second job because of how poorly Scrooge pays him. Scrooge got her start working for Marley, who was basically a loan shark, because she needed to save her mother who borrowed money from Marley to help Scrooge in Business School. And Marley isn’t dead…he’s in jail.)
Many updated productions of old stories try to get cute and drop in as many modern references as possible, purposely winking at the audience that they’re in on this clever secret. This show didn’t do that. It played it (mostly) completely straight. (With the exception of the spirits who are the only characters really allowed to have any fun until the end of the show.)
The updated story gives Scrooge a legitimate reason for becoming the person she did and in my favorite twist, when the Ghost of Christmas Future shows up, it isn’t Scrooge’s death that is revealed, but that of Scrooge’s beloved sister, who turned her back on Scrooge and paid the price with her life because she wouldn’t accept any of Scrooge’s dirty money. Tiny Tim kicks the bucket too. In a much more realistic way that just some phantom “poor, coughing kid with a crutch drops dead.”
The story and the cast were all compelling enough to keep me from checking the time or wondering if I should fast forward to the end. This is a new version of Scrooge that I could find myself returning to year after year.