REVIEW: Belle is Fullfilled, and Dickens Restored
New York Times
Under the masterly direction of Bonnie J. Monte, Shakespeare Theater’s longtime artistic director, 11 actors expertly play more than 80 separate parts, and even the inanimate objects have motivation. The script calls for actors to enact the sounds of clocks, bells, snow and a (probably anachronistic) bulb in an overhead light fixture. There is no doubt that the light bulb (Blake Pfeil) feels pain when it is being turned off and sweet relief when it is turned on again. READ MORE.
Review: 'A Christmas Carol' enchants at The Shakespeare Theatre
The Star-Ledger of New Jersey
They won’t be the only ones enjoying happy holidays. Those who come to Madison for this two-hour reduction of Charles Dickens’ famous tale will be enchanted by Bartlett’s inspired script and Monte’s imaginative direction.
It starts on a bare stage that sports the lone bulb — what is known in theatrical terms as a “ghostlight.” That’s fitting for a show in which four ghosts appear to straighten out Scrooge.
In every adaptation, audiences are shown what a miserable miser he is. Yet what Bartlett has Scrooge do here with a light bulb surpasses all previously imagined levels of parsimoniousness. READ MORE
REVIEW: A Tale of Two Dickens
In the intimate space of this theater, 11 adult actors perform all 50-plus roles of the play—including that of children, inanimate objects, and at least one surprising animal. The only words besides Dickens’ own are the lyrics of period songs interspersed, a cappella. They are not only sung, but sometimes recited—as in the first street scene, where a beggar (Ames Adamson, who has 11 other roles) plies his trade with the first verse of “Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat ...” READ MORE
Review: A Christmas Carol
There is no lack of eerie and scary doings. Be prepared to shiver and shake as Scrooge is haunted by Jacob Marley's fearsome ghost (Greg Jackson) and also by the draped-all-in-white Ghost of Christmas Past (Erin Partin) who takes Scrooge back to his childhood. Soon enough it’s time for the Ghost of Christmas Present (Ames Adamson), who appears with his glittering adornments and says, “Christmas is coming,” to whisk Scrooge away in a flash through the walls and into the cold starry night. Draped in a black shroud and walking presumably on stilts, the Ghost of Christmas Yet-to-Come (Clark Carmichael) is sure to send yet another chill down your spine. Amidst the fearsome doings is the warmth that comes from Bob Cratchit's family, including the crippled Tiny Tim (Blake Pfeil), as they gather together in their modest home. Among the supporting cast, John Ahlin stands out as a joyously blustery Mr. Fezziwig. READ MORE
REVIEW: A Christmas Carol at Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey Innovative
And what a fine cast director Monte has assembled: Philip Goodwin (seen earlier this season in “The Accidental Death of an Anarchist,”) returns to play Ebenezer Scrooge in a straight-forward, compelling manner. No flamboyance, no acting tricks, and more satisfying that way. Gregory Jackson, back for his 13th year, plays Bob Crachit with his customary polish and finesse. Others you may remember from past seasons are: Erin Partin who plays Belinda Crachit (plus 7 other roles) in her 10 season; Tina Stafford (her 4th year) who plays Mrs. Crachit; and Clark Carmichael (his 9th season) who plays Scrooge’s cheerful nephew, Fred (and seven additional roles.) READ MORE.
REVIEW: A Christmas Carol at The Shakespeare Thearte of New Jersey
NY Theatre Examiner
This is the 48th play that Shakespeare Theatre’s Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte has directed and it may be her most inventive, yes, clever, production ever. Ms. Monte, a well recognized NJ treasure, has produced a remarkable, enjoyable, literate version unlike any "Christmas Carol" production we've ever seen. It features a cast of nine marvelous actors playing more than 50 roles. We went to the opening in a bit of a "hum bug" mood thinking that possibly we were about to over-dose on Scrooge, Marley, the three ghosts of Past, Present and Future and the Crachit family, including even Tiny Tim. Even though this may be one of the most familiar stories in literature, we were surprised and awed by the magic of this presentation. READ MORE
REVIEW: A Christmas Carol at STNJ
NJ Arts Maven
With no music other than Christmas carols, no special effects but fog and a giant puppet, and no words other than those penned by Dickens himself, Director Bonnie J. Monte has taken Neil Bartlett's adaptation of the old chestnut and run with it. It helps that she's pulled out some of STNJ's biggest guns, with eight actors (mostly veterans and a couple of newbies) playing 50 roles seamlessly and adroitly, while providing sound effects that evoke ticking clocks, scratching quill pens, clinking coins and even a light going on and off! READ MORE
REVIEW: Shakespeare Theatre's "Christmas Carol" is a true favorite
Janine M. Torsiello
I don't care how many versions of “A Christmas Carol” you think you've seen, you haven't seen anything till you've this one. The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's Neil Bartlett adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic gives a whole new life to this oft-told tale.
Bonnie Monte's staging of this production is ingenious. She makes great use of every inch of the two-level stage and she brings out every drop of talent from her extremely talented cast. From the choreography to the acting to the sound effects, the actors do it all and they do it to perfection.
REVIEW: A Christmas Carol living large through small cast
Unique adaptation of Dickens’ classic re-imagined on Shakespeare Theatre stage.
Monte was determined to give us the whole story and certainly succeeds in that regard. But we also are treated to dancing, ingenious physical comedy, a few effective special effects and plenty of lovely Christmas music (it’s clear that singing was part of the audition process).
For theatergoers who think they’ve seen “A Christmas Carol” too many times already, allow me to urge you to give it one more go. You won’t be disappointed. And don’t forget to bring the kiddies: as sophisticated as some of Monte’s theatrical devices may be, they go down as easy as a glass of rich eggnog. READ MORE
STNJ’s “A Christmas Carol” is a Revelation
There are many traditions at the holidays, including the telling and re-telling of favorite stories. Since it burst on the scene December 17, 1843, Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol has been adapted into many different forms, from books to movies, opera, and even a Mr. Magoo version, which made its debut in 1962 and was a holiday favorite at the Rase home. That said, Neil Bartlett's adaptation first had a debut at Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey in 2007, and it is even more salient now, after the times we've been through that are the worst, yet may bring about some of the best times yet to come. Bonnie Monte, STNJ's artistic director, helms this production, which features Philip Goodwin in the role of that most famous holiday villain, Mr. Scrooge. READ MORE
Shakespeare Theatre's Christmas Carol lets Dickens speak for himself
Times of Trenton
To close the 49th season at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Bonnie J. Monte chose to return to a holiday attraction that had been a hit there in 2007: Neil Bartlett’s version of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” which uses only Dickens’ own words.
Monte is quick to point out that although the show itself, which runs through Dec. 30, is a return, this new production is not simply a revival. READ MORE
PREVIEW: A Paired-down Christmas Carol in Madison
“When you announce that you’re going to do this old chestnut, a lot of people groan and say, ‘Oh, no! Don’t tell me I’m going to have to see another one!’ That is, until you tell them that it will be done by only eight actors. Suddenly everyone starts thinking, ‘How can this big story be told with so few people? Can they really pull it off?’ At least this once, anyone who comes to ‘A Christmas Carol’ is going to have a very different experience." READ MORE
PREVIEW:'A Christmas Carol' seems much more socially relevant this year
“Things are a bit Dickensian, all over the world,” says Monte. “All you have to do is mention the (wealthiest) one percent and the 99 percent, and people know what you’re talking about. If ever there was a time for this story, it’s now.”
Monte hopes to prove her point with her direction of “A Christmas Carol,” which will close the 49th season of the Shakespeare Theatre. READ MORE.