We are all familiar with Charles Dicken’s classic Christmas tale, “A Christmas Carol”, but imagine for a minute, a much more dramatic telling of the story.  You would still have your ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, but guests would have the chance to see the story unfold as if it were a Telenovela Mexican soap adaptation.  After seeing the classic so many times, it was refreshing to see a new twist to a beloved story.  “A Telenovela Christmas Carol” is written by Adam Neubauer and Sebastian Muñoz of Force of Nature Productions, and is a follow up from last year’s hit “TELENOVELA” This year they bring back the same characters as well as introduce new characters to an entirely new world and story.  Not only do we get to join them in their hilarity and despair during the holiday season, but we also get a taste of some passion, seduction, and redemption as well as musical numbers during the re-telling of the Dicken’s classic.

For those not familiar with “A Christmas Carol” (and honestly, I would be shocked if not all of you reading this knew at least a little bit about it), the story centers around Ebenezer Scrooge, a bitter and hateful man who, through a series of visitations by ghosts, becomes a much more loving and accepting gentleman.  In “A Telenovela Christmas Carol” we meet the Mexican version of Scrooge, Pedro, as he works tirelessly into the evenings perfecting the art of tequila for his distillery business.  He’s a hateful man who has lost everyone that he considers close, by alienating them and letting his work consume him.  His lover resents him, his children resent him, his ex-business partner resents him and instead of making amends he pushes them further and further away.  As midnight ticks closer and closer on Christmas Eve, Pedro is reunited (in what he thinks is a dream) by his deceased wife, who informs him he will be visited by three ghosts at the stroke of midnight.  As the clock strikes the impending time, the spirits materialize and we start our journey through the past all the way to the future of Pedro’s life and learn how he became such a bitter and angry man.

What really makes this show work so well is the acting and the passion behind each and every person that graces the stage.  However, I must make note the incredible talent that Sebastian Muñoz has.  Muñoz, who plays Pedro, is a show-stopper and it’s quite clear he loves what he does.  He is a force of nature (pun intended) who bleeds forth his emotions in such a raw and realistic manner.  Though he’s the center of the show, it’s important to bring up the fact that each actor had their own specialty that they brought to the table which resulted in this being one of the most unique and endearing shows I’ve seen in quite a long time.  For someone like myself, who has a hard time showing certain emotions, I could feel myself relating to Pedro in all aspects of his life.  That was a hard pill to swallow, but one that resonated with me in a positive light because it reminded me that there is more to life than just work.

Now, for the horror lovers out there, have no fear, as we do get to see three ghosts and a zombie-like wife.  Though this is a holiday production, there’s a lot of aspects that can put the fear of God (or Satan – no judgment here) in your heart.  The makeup applied to the undead wife was a lot better than I expected and wasn’t too over the top.  Also, who doesn’t love a performance where you can meet Death knowing that you aren’t the one up for bat.  There’s a lot of darkness that surrounds the story of “A Christmas Carol” and I was happy to see that it was translated very well into “A Telenovela Christmas Carol.”  Along with ghosts and ghouls, there was music and singing which added a lighter fare in contrast to the darker tones of the story.  Whether it was a group musical number or a lone man strumming a guitar, we were graced with music that was pleasant to our ears.  We even got the added benefit of Mexican carolers singing classic Christmas songs before the show started.

Overall, “A Telenovela Christmas Carol” was a fantastic show to attend.  I loved seeing a new and fresh re-telling of a classic Christmas story as well as the passion and talent brought forth from all the actors.  This is one of those shows that has something for everyone; love, danger, ghots, humor, death, music, hope and happiness.  There were a few times when the actors flubbed their lines, but I can’t give them too much heat for that as I went opening night and mistakes are bound to happen.  As the Christmas holiday approaches, I would highly recommend checking out “A Telenovela Christmas Carol” as it’s something that can be seen with friends and family of all ages.

“A Telenovela Christmas Carol” will be playing from December 2-18 at 8pm Fridays & Saturdays and 2pm on Sunday.  Tickets are $28 but if you use the discount code TEQUILA or DICKENS the weekend of 12/9-12/11 you can get $12 off your ticket.  For more information and to purchase tickets visit www.archwayla.tix.com or www.fonproductions.com.

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