Sometimes we forget that "A Christmas Carol" is a story of ghosts and ghouls and things that go bump in the night. But Michael Wilson's adaptation of the Charles Dickens tale puts those lesson-imparting spirits front and center.
At the Winter Garden Theatre, Beth Marshall Presents is staging Wilson's "A Christmas Carol" in a production chock full of bells and whistles. The strikingly angular set, by Tom Mangieri, puts Scrooge's bed center stage. All the better for ghostly visits -- whether rising through a trap door or appearing in a burst of snow.
Marley's ghost (Joe Swanberg) speaks with a booming echo effect. Also courtesy of the sound design by John Valines, Scrooge hears whispers from his past, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is represented the disquieting sound of flapping, scratching somethings.
Director John DiDonna keeps Dennis Neal's authoritarian Scrooge front and center, and makes sure he isn't overwhelmed among the clanking chains, ringing bells, falling snow, street urchins and even peddlers with pushcarts in the aisles.
But despite all the high-tech help, some of the best moments are simple shadow tricks. Amy Hadley's lighting makes for striking silhouettes of a spirit or an undertaker that put some menace into the ghost story.
See for yourself
* What: "A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas" from Beth Marshall Presents
* When: Through 19. 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays and Monday, Dec. 13; 2 p.m. Sundays.
* Where: Garden Theatre, 160 W. Plant St., Winter Garden.
* Tickets: $24; $20 students and seniors
* Call: 407-877-4736
* Online: gardentheatre.orgCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun