‘A Christmas Carol’ is a Victorian morality tale of an old and bitter miser, Ebenezer Scrooge, who undergoes a profound journey of redemption over the course of just one night. A financier and money-changer who has devoted his life to the accumulation of wealth, he holds anything other than money in contempt, including friendship, love and particularly the Christmas season. But when on Christmas Eve he is visited by the dread ghost of his former partner, Jacob Marley, and subsequently by other spirits who show him what his life has been before and what a bitter fate lies ahead of him, he is forced to make a decision that will change his life, and all those around him…
Tim Young, Steve North
Mike Brown, Steve North
Hannah Hornegold, Emily Browne, Phillippa-Jane Martin, Victoria Collis
Lucy-Ann Martin, Jane Simeone
Technical Crew Details:
Maria New, Jonathan Wales
Kevin Boot, Martin Coburn
Tim Young, Julia Young
Kevin Boot, Steve North, Graham Payne, Chris Strachan, Martin Coburn
Richard Lloyd, Chris Argles, Penny Simeone, Heidi Bush
Sheila Bird, Vanessa Buck, Rosie Martin, Helen Andreadis
Reviewed by Peter Steptoe for The Croydon Advertiser
This is the best amateur production that I have seen for some time: atmospheric; high production values; slick continuity; and a sincere appreciation of this masterpiece from Dickens.
The director Mike Brown superbly paced, positioned and marshalled his actors; a talented chap, clearly, as he is also responsible for the set design, properties and furniture. The music, composed and played by Mark Taylor, is in keeping with Brown’s vision for this play and with these two, Theatre Workshop Coulsdon has treasures to be cosseted.
This is a fine exhibition of ensemble playing by a cast of 24, with many playing more than one part. I loved this production because the director’s version of the story coincided exactly with the pictures created in my childhood.
The ghost of Jacob Marley, correct in saying “I wear the chains I forged in life, I made them link by link and yard by yard”, is greyly played by an elongated Nick Foster.
Ebeneezer Scrooge is a part that any actor worthy of the name would die for, and Chris Argles did him justice. Mind you, I have a sneaking liking for old Scrooge at the beginning, with the bit about the Poor Law, The Workhouse and the Treadmill, but Argles handled the transformation into Saint Ebeneezer without revulsion on my part.
I delighted in the scene when his nephew (Chris Blakeney) and the party guests indulged in the rapid fire “Yes/No” Christmas puzzle.
Harriett Younger is a spritely Christmas Past, and the thespian voiced Richard Lloyd is both an excellent Narrator and The Ghost of Christmas Present. I found the latter character, with the addition of strobe lighting indicating transportation, quite frightening.
Dickens was over-sentimental, we critics write, as we try to ignore the lump in our throats caused by crippled Tiny Tim (Johnathan North) and his down-trodden, loving Father, Bob Cratchit (Chris Strachan). What a swine Scrooge is but Mrs Cratchit (Jane Foster) did drink his health, if only reluctantly.