‘A CHRISTMAS CAROL: A SOLO PERFORMANCE’ at Ross Valley Players

Sunday afternoon I went to see Ron Severdia’s fantastic one-person version of A Christmas Carol. In keeping with the previous few shows I’ve seen, the theme was once again “doing the impossible.” Ron plays about 40 characters in the show, from Scrooge to each ghost to Tiny Tim.

I loved the stripped-down staging, the brilliant characterizations, and most especially the language of the piece. By doing it as a one-man show, Ron’s able to keep much of Dickens’s original writing, and it’s great to let those words wash over you.

I also really loved the theatricality that comes from the less-is-more approach. Ron brings each character to life simply by a shift in posture and a change of voice, and each character is distinct, lively and well-drawn. In fact, the performance won a Bay Area Theatre Critics’ Circle Award for Best Solo Performance last time around. So when Ron adds a moment or two of true stage magic, it’s even more amazing.

The fact that the show’s in the Ross Valley Players’ barn, which has been around since the 1940s, makes it even more charming. And the mulled wine at intermission is not to be missed.

If Ron’s willing to keep bringing the show back (and he might; it’s toured Europe and been done at RVP once or twice before), I could easily see it becoming a holiday tradition. Who knew the old chestnut had new life in it?

Ron Severdia’s A Christmas Carol at Ross Valley Players, 30 St. Francis Drake Blvd., San Anselmo (near Ross), through Dec 24. Tickets at rossvalleyplayers.com.

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