Rhys Bevan-John and Simon Henderson return in the Neptune Theatre production of DIckens' A Christmas Carol. Photo by Stoo Metz.
Rhys Bevan-John and Simon Henderson return in the Neptune Theatre production of DIckens' A Christmas Carol. Photo by Stoo Metz.

Halifax’s Neptune Theatre is quite literally getting into the holiday spirit(s) with the return of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol at the Scotiabank Stage. Meanwhile, over at Fountain Hall comes the premiere of the new family musical Peter Pan.

Originally premiering at Neptune Theatre in 2003, Dickens’ A Christmas Carol has since become a long-standing holiday tradition. Adapted for the stage by Neptune’s artistic director Jeremy Webb, this retelling of the Dickens classic combines live actors and puppets to tell its story of redemption, charity, and the spirit of Christmas.

Originally starring Webb to play the more than 20 characters in the piece, the role of puppeteer was performed by Halifax-based actor Rhys Bevan-John. When Webb decided to step into the director’s chair in 2015, Bevan-John stepped away from the puppets to play the more than 20 roles in the show. Joining him on stage now for the fourth time as the puppeteer is another Halifax-based actor Simon Henderson.

“I feel incredibly lucky to be performing this show again,” says Rhys Bevan John in a media release. “I try to make each performance a discovery, and a celebration, so that we can all share in the spirit of the show together.”

Members of the cast of the Neptune Theatre production of Peter Pan. Photo by Stoo Metz.
Members of the cast of the Neptune Theatre production of Peter Pan. Photo by Stoo Metz.

While Scrooge learns the true meaning of Christmas with the help of three ghosts on the Scotiabank Stage, over at Fountain Hall, Webb is also in the director’s chair for this year’s family musical Peter Pan.

Looking for lightning to strike twice with the success of last year’s Cinderella, Webb continues Neptune’s newest holiday tradition with the story of the boy who never grew up.

Filled with extravagant characters, dancing, singing, comedy and plenty of audience participation, Peter Pan stars Toronto actors Brandon Antonio as Peter Pan.

“Even though this is my first Christmas away from home, I couldn’t be more excited to be stepping into the shoes of such an iconic character from my childhood,” says Antonio in a media release. “It’s going to be absolute magic.”

In a gender-bend, Webb has cast another Toronto actor, Kelly Holiff, in the role of Captain Hook.

“When I told people I was going to be in Peter Pan, many of them asked the same question – ‘are you playing Wendy or Tinkerbell?'” says Holiff. “I’m thrilled to be breaking new ground by redefining Captain Hook with a new and unique dimension.”

Making her Neptune Theatre debut alongside Antonio and Holiff is Winnipeg’s Julie Lumsden, who will play the role of Wendy Darling. Jeremy Legat and Joseph Zita will play the other Darling siblings. Legat, whose acting credits include CBC’s Murdoch Mysteries and Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy, is no stranger to the Peter Pan story with this production marking his fourth time acting in a stage production of the show.

Both Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and Peter Pan open at Neptune Theatre on November 27. Dickens’ A Christmas Carol continues at the Scotiabank Stage until December 28, while Peter Pan plays Fountain Hall until January 5. Visit neptunetheatre.com for tickets and information.