Updated: May 26, 2021
December 13, 2019 - January 5, 2020; 90 min
Steven Elliott as Scrooge, Matthew Bulgo as Bob Cratchit, Amy Drake as The Ghost of Christmas Present and Dylan Roberts as Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol at Theatr Clwyd. All pics: Brian Roberts
Alan Harris's adaptation of Dickens’ classic Christmas story retains the basic story of the redemption of Ebenezer Scrooge (Steven Elliott) from "Bah! Humbug!" Christmas hater to the embodiment of the Christmas spirit, handing out sacks of money to the poor.
One difference is that Bob Cratchit is promoted to partner in the renamed Scrooge and Cratchit, now changed from money lender to charitable enterprise.
But it’s the unusual and imaginative staging that makes this production so memorable and joyous. The action takes place in two settings; the first a recreation of a Victorian street peopled by local residents and vendors selling their wares (and members of the audience are given tokens which can be exchanged for, among other things, gingerbread men). This creates an immediacy with the action of the play and with Scrooge, looking fearsome in black morning coat and top hat, wandering through the throng of audience and actors.
Scrooge establishes his miserly credentials by denying an extension on a loan to Mrs Roberts (Kerry Peers) before retiring to his office and the downtrodden Bob (Matthew Bulgo).
The second staging takes place in the Emlyn Williams theatre and in Scrooge’s bedroom, where the hauntings take place before the action finally returns to the street scene for the finale.
The portrayal of Tiny Tim (Lewis Lowry) as a typically mischievous young boy is a refreshing interpretation of this character, as is Bob Cratchitt as a single parent.
The success of this production is the result of all the elements of stage craft coming together: set design, music, lighting and so on, and actors working to create a story in which the whole audience, both young children to adults, can participate and enjoy.
The logistics of staging a promenade production - at which the audience moves from venue to venue – is not easy but director Liz Stevenson manages to achieve it seamlessly.
A highly recommended family show.