Curtain Call: One-man show offers passionate portrayal of ‘A Christmas Carol’

Patrick Spadaccino stars in his one-man adaptation of “A Christmas Carol” at the Ridgefield Theater Barn through Dec. 20.

Patrick Spadaccino stars in his one-man adaptation of “A Christmas Carol” at the Ridgefield Theater Barn through Dec. 20.

Anna Zuckerman-Vdovenko / Contributed photo

“Marley was dead,” but Charles Dickens is very much alive. Considering how many area theaters have or are producing the Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol,” Dickens will be around for a long time to come. This is due to talented actors and writers like Patrick Spadaccino, who loved this story so much that he adapted it into a one-man show. The actor plays 25 characters. Best of all, audiences can now see this ever-lasting story at the Ridgefield Theater Barn either live or virtual. Even more exciting, audiences get to see the writer/actor Patrick Spadaccino actually playing all the roles.

Having seen another actor play this role using Spadaccino’s script, I was excited about seeing the playwright stepping into the many roles. The first thing I noticed is the incredible passion that Spadaccino punctuates the play with. His every facial and vocal expression captures the essence of the characters he obviously knows so well. Whether he takes on the additional role of Charles Dickens and prepares the audience for a masterful show, or stepping into the iconic miserly Ebinizer Scrooge, there’s neve a doubt as who you are seeing and hearing on the Theater Barn’s stage. It’s not that Spadaccino knows the characters so well, which he does, but he internalizes the inner most feelings of these characters.

That he does it with minimal staging and a few flawless costume changes is nothing short of amazing. Thanks to director Scott R. Brill a solitary bench, a lonely chair, simple props and strategic blocking are transformed into Scrooge’s whole world. As for the costume changes, they are so clever that you just might miss when they happen. A night cap is on or off, but watch for the day jacket to turn into a fashionable night jacket.

Because the theater is very diligent about COVID-19 requirements, you can feel safe attending a live performance. You must make reservations since seating in the theater is limited. However, the production is also available virtually. The lighting and sound effects are important in this production especially in the ghost scenes. Matt Pagliaro’s lighting design captures the darkness and eeriness of London in the 1800s or the brightness of the festivities. It makes the actor’s presence that much more believable. Spadaccino seems to be in these English locales. The same holds true for Matt Austin’s sound design, which adds to the solemness or gaiety of a scene.

Katherine Ray is credited with the film design for the virtual production and Renee Purdy in partnership with the Warner Theater deserves kudos for her costume design.

This production plays through Dec. 20. For more information, visit

Joanne Greco Rochman is a founder of the Connecticut Critics Circle and a long time member of the American Theatre Critics Association. She welcomes comments. Contact: