Fantastical stagecraft is the indisputable star of co-director Geoff Elliott's adaptation of Dickens' holiday classic. Its magic appears as soon as the lights come up and Scrooge (Elliott) hobbles across the broad proscenium, a dark silhouette with top hat and cane, against a crepuscular sky. Under Andrew Ellis' technical direction, that opening heralds many fabulous visuals, drawn from lighting designer Ken Booth's lush, kaleidoscopic panoramas, Jeanine A. Ringer's whimsical set designs and Angela Balogh-Calin's imaginative costumes. Picture, for example, a giant-sized Christmas Present (Alan Blumenthal) in a long, regal robe studded with fruit, or Christmas Past (Deborah Strang) as a playful female spirit, with her own black topper and ornate, multilayered, white chiffon dress. When Marley's ghost (Mitchell Edmonds) thunderously appears, his humongous chains are suspended from the rear of the auditorium to the stage. Designer Ego Plum's fanciful sound design is part of the enchantment as well. The story, narrated in literary fashion by Robertson Dean, gets somewhat lost in the spectacle. Elliott's clownish Scrooge comes across as more intensely irritable than downright mean, and evokes our sympathy rather early in the story. Blumenthal and Rafael Goldstein as Scrooge's nephew are notable among a solid ensemble. Julie Elliott-Rodriguez co-directs. A Noise Within, 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena; Fri-Sat., 8 p.m.; in rep, call for schdule; through Dec. 23. (626) 356-3100, anoisewithin.org.
Sat., Dec. 8, 8 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 9, 7 p.m.; Thu., Dec. 13, 8 p.m.; Fri., Dec. 14, 8 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 15, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 16, noon; Fri., Dec. 21, 8 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 22, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 23, 2 p.m., 2012