Bah Humbug! brings the spirit of Christmas to SFU Woodward's

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Bah Humbug! | SFU Woodward’s, Full Circle First Nations Performance, and Vancouver Moving Theatre | SFU Goldcorg Centre for the Arts, Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre | December 7 – 16, 2017

This locally-sourced version of A Christmas Carol features First Nations and local East Vancouver performers, an East Vancouver setting, and a rousing soundtrack that adds more depth and meaning to this story of community spirit and goodwill.

Projections of beautiful artwork by Richard Tetrault provided a beautiful backdrop to the proceedings, and Jim Byrnes sat on his high chair centre stage as Ebenezer Scrooge. The crutch and the raven are important symbols in this retelling. The crutch is a beautifully carved wooden piece of art that is treated with great respect and serves as a symbol of dependence on others. The raven, the eternal trickster, crows to announce the arrival of each spirit.

Many local issues are brought into the story, including the increasing homeless population, refugee struggles, and the fentanyl crisis. Scrooge is a Vancouver developer and pawn shop owner who doesn’t care if the city has a huge homeless problem. “Are there no prisons?” he says. He treats his clerk, Bob Cratchit, terribly and threatens him often saying things like, “I could have hired a temporary foreign worker.”

Scrooge goes through the usual transformation as he is visited by each spirit of Christmas past, present, and yet to come. His fiancée leaves him due to his obsession with money, and he witnesses his poorly-attended funeral. After he comes to his senses, he sends a large turkey from Save-On Meats to the Cratchit family and raises Bob’s salary.

What makes this production so moving is the music. With songs like Trent Reznor’s “Hurt,” “Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word” by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, and “Dust in the Wind” by Kerry Livgren, it’s a cathartic journey as we witness Scrooge’s redemption and feel compelled to be kinder, more generous, and embrace the Christmas spirit.  

The Saint James Academy Youth Choir makes a few appearances, singing a beautiful “Carol of the Bells” and joining in the finale of “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand).” This final song summed up the show’s message of connecting with neighbours and caring about our community. As they sang, the performers came into the audience to reach out and touch our hands. Sometimes a simple gesture has the greatest impact.    

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