Christmoose comes but once a year

By Natalie Sit

In Loose Moose Theatre Company land, dog-zapping collars and comedy somehow come together in Christmoose Carol, their version of Dickens’ well-known A Christmas Carol.

"Each year it’s a little different, but we keep the basic structure," says Dennis Cahill, artistic director for Loose Moose. "It’s more dramatic. All the comedy but more drama."

This is the sixth year the play has run. The production uses only three actors who audition for the role of Ebeneezer Scrooge at the beginning for the audience. As Cahill puts it, one actor plays Scrooge and the other two play the remaining 18 characters. The Moose also added a new actor in the form of Torontonian stand-up comedian Ryan Belleville.

"We’re forcing him to be more dramatic," Cahill jokes. "We’ve got a training collar like on dogs and it shocks him. If he’s funny or cracks a joke–ZAP! If it works, it’ll take over method acting."

Cahill feels that he’s actually more of an Alastair Sims Scrooge while Belleville is like the Michael Caine portrayal in the Muppet Christmas Carol.

"Alastair Sims because that’s the Scrooge I saw when I was a kid," explains Cahill.

Loose Moose also created a new Ghost of Christmas Past, which is very Frankenstein-like because it’s made up of other creatures. But anyone who’s seen a Loose Moose show will know the special effects sometimes don’t work as well as they should.

"We’re fine tuning special effects," says Cahill. "We’re a poor theatre company. We’ll improv around those special effects. If there’s a mistake we’ll work it into the show."

Audience members are also pulled in to play Tiny Tim. Last year, Loose Moose had a celebrity Tiny Tim and made him cry.

"Darr Maqbool kept breaking up," Cahill says matter-of-factly. "There were tears rolling down his face because we kept making fun of his weather reports."

Cahill promises it will be a fantastic show and people should pay for this show instead of that Harry Potter film.

"Harry Potter’s going to be on DVD soon," says Cahill. "Christmoose Carol is never going to be on DVD. You can’t put what we do on a disc. It can’t fit all on one disc. Maybe in the 23rd century."

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