Over the past few weeks, the Kemptville Youth Musical Theatre Company put on a special holiday presentation of Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol” at the Urbandale Arts Centre.
I’ll be honest: as this was my first KYMTC Musical, I was not sure what to expect. I love musicals and grew up going to see them with my parents. I have seen many wonderful performances on Broadway as well as on the stages of big cities like London and Toronto. Needless to say, I have high standards.
However, as soon as the opening number began and the carolers started to sing, I was instantly transported to the 19th century British town where the story takes place. The set was so beautifully done with everything that a town square would have to offer. And the singing. As soon as the first note was sung, I knew that I was in for a treat. Not only did each individual character have the voice of a budding musical theatre star, the harmony they achieved was akin to any other professional musical I have ever seen.
Jacob Nickerson played an equally miserable and comical Ebenezer Scrooge. Every facial expression and gesture he made was reminiscent of an old man, and even his singing voice sounded like someone that was three times his age. Maya Mohammed made an extremely convincing Tiny Tim with her sweet yet fragile voice and tiny frame. The duo of Sarah and Maddie Bolland gave me chills as the ghost of Christmas present, as their ethereal sounding voices rang together throughout the theatre. Zach van Noppen as the young Scrooge and Tatum McGill-Tataraciuc as his young beau Emily performed a beautiful lovers duet.
I could go on and on about all the cast members. Each one was integral in making this production the success that it was. What made the performance even more amazing was the fact that almost every cast member played several parts. Sometimes up to 12. The way that they were able to get into character so effortlessly after what would have evidently been quite the scramble backstage was incredible. The costumes and makeup were equally well done and you could tell that a lot of time and effort was put into every detail.
The impeccable use of sound and lighting brought the performance to a truly professional level. From the use of strobe lights for when the ghosts were about to appear, to the recordings of the ghosts voices as they were leaving the scene that echoed throughout the theatre. You would have thought it was done with much more than just one man and three keyboards. The use of small vignettes during certain scenes was also extremely effective, and the actors did so well, holding their poses devoutly giving the spectator a glimpse into a moment in their character’s lives.
The production was funny, sad, joyful and scary all at once. Hats off to Barbara Lacelle’s artistic vision and to everyone who was involved in the production. What a wonderful introduction for me to a company that is clearly one of the gems of North Grenville.