We all know the basic story by now – a miser is visited by his dead former business partner, three other ghosts show him the error of his ways. He learns from them, becomes a better, more generous man, able to keep the spirit of Christmas better than any other man. The ending is saccharine, but effective. Bah, and Humbug.
In this adaptation, penned by Patrick Barlow and produced by Andrew Corcoran, all parts are played by four actors and although the pathos of Tiny Tim is spoiled by being played by a full grown man, the basic idea of the story comes through.
Barlow takes liberties with the script, incorporating elements of Monty Python’s Dead Parrot sketch into Scrooge’s (Barbara Treen) speeches, while Bob Crachit, the put upon clerk is well played by Robert Woodhall.
Demelza O’Sullivan puts in a fine performance as The Ghost of Christmas Past, and many other female characters, while Susan Brooke puts in a heartbreaking scene as a young woman up to her eyeballs in debt to Scrooge, as well as a far more joyful The Ghost of Christmas Present.
However, it is Brian Goredema who puts in two of the most memorable performances, as Scrooge’s childhood school teacher Mr Grimes, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, but he had more fun as the jovial Mr Fezziwig.
This was a good adaptation, with hard working actors, playing multiple parts, affecting and effective lights, staging, soundscape and music that added to the atmosphere of the piece, which at its heart is about a man’s redemption through supernatural forces that he doesn’t want or understand.