Acclaimed theatrical imagineers the Wonderheads hit B.C. stages this December with A Wonderheads Christmas Carol, a whimsical re-imagining of the beloved holiday classic.
The multi award-winning company brings Scrooge’s magical journey to life with masks, puppets, music, and theatrical invention. Think Pixar meets Jim Henson.
Praised by the CBC as “Pure magic” and the Globe and Mail as “Powerful, surprising and moving,” the Wonderheads specialize in visual storytelling – a mix of puppetry, full-face mask performance, and virtuosic physical performance. A Wonderheads Christmas Carol features 20 masks and puppets, including a 10-foot-tall Ghost of Christmas Present, all designed by company Co-founding Artistic Directors Kate Braidwood and Andrew Phoenix.
Braidwood embraces the ‘live-action Pixar’ comparison often used to describe the company’s work: “It’s a real compliment because, like Pixar, we set out to create entertaining and enchanting shows that resonate with all ages.”
Phoenix adds, “Our take on Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is a heartfelt examination of greed and compassion that includes glowing ghosts, joyful giants, and the sweetest Tiny Tim you’ve ever seen; we’re aiming to make each audience member laugh, cry, and gasp with wonder.”
Devised and co-directed by Braidwood and Phoenix, A Wonderheads Christmas Carol features physical theatre performers Kate Braidwood as Ebenezer Scrooge; Pedro M. Siqueira as Bob Cratchit, the Ghost of Christmas Present and Fezziwig; Jessica Hickman as Marley, Fred, Belle, and the Ghost of Christmas Future; and Sarah Robertson as Mrs. Cratchit, The Ghost of Christmas Past, and Mrs. Fezziwig.
“Our ensemble is breathing hard by the end of the 70 minute show,” says co-director Phoenix. “In one moment, a performer is playing Bob Cratchit, in the next, running backstage to put on a huge backpack puppet, and the next, spinning set pieces through in the air in a cyclone of time travel.”
The show also features an original score composed by LA-based band, The Singer and the Songwriter. Featuring covers of many holiday favourites, their “sophisticated but playful” sound (BuzzBands LA) lends itself perfectly to this poignant and whimsical production.
Peter Balkwill, Co-founding Artistic Director of the Old Trout Puppet Workshop, is on the creative team as puppetry and dramaturgy advisor, and a lineup of stellar designers has helped create the ambitious production. Masks and puppets are designed by Kate Braidwood and Andrew Phoenix, projection design is by Jason King, costume design by Hannah Case and Hannah Ockenden, set and lighting design is by Theodore R. Sherman and Carolyn Moon, and illustrations by Christache Ross.
A Wonderheads Christmas Carol has become a tradition for thousands of theatre-goers each December and for good reason. The Wonderheads have spent more than a decade touring the world, from Alaska to Hawaii, Shanghai to Los Angeles, and Victoria to St. John’s – to critical acclaim and sold-out audiences who describe the experience as watching animation come to life. They have garnered five Critics’ Choice Awards and twelve Best of Fest awards, making it their business to step beyond words and into the hearts and imaginations of every audience member.
A Wonderheads Christmas Carol is performed Dec 14, Mary Winspear Centre, Sidney ● Dec 16-17, McPherson Playhouse, Victoria ● Dec 18, Cowichan Performing Arts Centre, Duncan ● Dec 21, Tidemark Theatre, Campbell River ● Dec 23, Port Theatre, Nanaimo. Show times and ticket prices vary by venue.
Full information and tickets are available at https://www.wonderheads.com/awonderheadschristmascarol/.