A Huron County Christmas Carol
Gil Garratt’s countrified adaptation of the Charles Dickens 1843 classic A Christmas Carol will be returning to Memorial Hall this holiday season, with Blyth Festival favourite Randy Hughson returning to the role of Ebenezer Scrooge.
Ever since the total rejuvenation of Memorial Hall Theatre in 2017, the Blyth Festival’s creative team has been eager to expand their four-seasons programming with winter concerts and shows. Certainly the beautiful hall is the perfect place to take in a
Dickens’ classic that’s been thoroughly adapted for the Huron County crowd.
One of the most anticipated elements of this year’s production is the return of Randy Hughson’s portrayal of Ebenezer Scrooge. Hughson has been widely praised for his heartfelt and humorous embodiment of the spirit-deficient doubter during his previous turn in the role.
The veteran of Blyth and Stratford offers audiences a delicately nuanced portrayal, acting as the center holding together all the play’s effervescent elements. Those who were lucky enough to see Garratt and Hughson’s previous collaboration this year - the ambitious adaptation of James Reaney’s Donnelly Trilogy performed on the Festival’s Harvest Stage, have already experienced his impressive acting chops. Songs by John Power keep each act moving along, and local lore lovers will be pleased by the inclusion of CKNX’s Barn Dance in the show.
With its universal themes, evergreen-life lessons and a heartwarming conclusion, A Christmas Carol has been adapted hundreds of times for stage, screen and page. Garratt, the Artistic Director of the Blyth Festival, has crafted a version that seeks to connect with the rural audience that makes up the backbone of the festival.
He’s moved the story from 19th century London into Huron County in the modern age, and hopes to showcase the way in which the two very different settings share issues and themes. A lack of affordable housing, food insecurity and wealth disparity is high in the minds of many residents of Huron County, just as they were in Dickensian London. The parallels between Garratt’s clever modernization and use of local touchstones illustrates the universal challenge of reconciling ourselves with the things we can, and cannot change.
Previews of A Huron County Christmas Carol are on November 30 and Dec 1, with an opening night reception on Sat, Dec 2. The show will run to Dec 22 at Memorial Hall Theatre with matinee and evening performances. Tickets are on sale at the box office or online at www.blythfestival.com 431 Queen St., Blyth.