Tiny Tim’s Christmas Carol

A couple of years ago, I was anxious to introduce my older son to Charles Dickens’ beloved classic A Christmas Carol. The version we saw at Olney Theatre was performed by just one actor and was geared to adults. I’ve been hoping to find something more on his level.

In a world premiere, Adventure Theatre-MTC has produced Tiny Tim’s Christmas Carol, a version that’s quite accessible to kids. And clocking in at 50 minutes, the story Tiny Tim's Christmas Carol at Adventure Theatre-MTCis told succinctly while still hitting on the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future, and wrapping up with a warm message.

Tony Award-winning playwright Ken Ludwig wrote the play along with his son Jack, a senior at D.C.’s St. Albans School. Their version features a grown Tiny Tim telling of the Christmas when he was 10 and his father worked for Ebenezer Scrooge.

He recounts how he and his friend Charlotte (who is also Scrooge’s great-niece) enlisted three street peddlers to teach Scrooge a lesson. In a flashback, the five use props, costume changes, and a few musical instruments to give Scrooge a glimpse of his past, present, and future. Ultimately, Scrooge sees the error of his ways and bursts with generosity.

The stage is often crowded with many of the all-adult cast of six, making for lots of action for little eyes to take in. There’s no audience participation, but my five- and nine-year-old sons were both entertained. I caught big smiles on their faces when the pieman hammed it up in his ghost roles.

The play is recommended for ages 4 and up. Younger kids may have trouble understanding some of the plot. The only part that seemed a bit scary was when an actor dressed in white fabric appears as a 10-foot-tall ghost (the fabric covers a pole or other contraption on the actor to give added height).

Scrooge’s booming voice and general meanness might not sit well with some kids. While the British accents used throughout the play take a little getting used to, I think most kids won’t have a hard time understanding the dialogue, which doesn’t adhere to, but is in the spirit of, Dickens’ prose.

Tiny Tim's Christmas CarolThe set’s muted colors channel Dickens’ London, and the costumes feature many mismatched patterns. The play opens and closes with a few lines of “Deck the Halls,” but there isn’t much singing in the production. The playwrights included a nice inclusive line at the end about it not mattering if you are Christian, Muslim, white, or black.

For parents who are fans of A Christmas Carol, the production at Adventure Theatre-MTC is a wonderful introduction to Dickens for their kids. I’m glad I was able to share the message of generosity with my kids.

Tiny Tim’s Christmas Carol runs through January 1, 2015. Tickets are $19 (free for children under 1). Seating is general admission.

Photo Credits:

  • Chris Dinolfo as Tiny Tim.
  • Conrad Feininger as Scrooge and Phil Reid as the ghost of Christmas past.
  • Photo by Bruce Douglas.
Photo of author

OK Editorial Team

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