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A Christmas Carol 

When: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m. and Sun., Dec. 28, 2 p.m. Continues through Dec. 28 2008
Phone: 445-3700
Price: $30-66.50
pcs.org
A Christmas Carol is a chestnut, to be sure, but one that's capable of evoking a real response, as ghosts guide Ebenezer Scrooge through the disappointments and cruelties that make up his past, present, and future. It's fair to say that lavish costumes and a lush, versatile set make Portland Center Stage's adaptation the prettiest piece of holiday eye candy you'll see all season—but this production hits the cheer a little too hard, taking a tone that's so lighthearted and silly it fails to invite any real emotional investment; saying, in effect, "We've all seen this show a hundred times before, so how could anyone take it seriously at this point?" The gimmicky Christmas ghosts are fun to look at, but they seriously undermine the power of Charles Dickens' story. AH

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