Thurs 9th to Sun 12th December & Tues 14th to Sat 19th December 2004
Directed by Mark Wakeman
Scrooge had the blackest heart in London; a miser with a love for nothing except money. He was feared and despised everywhere he showed his scowling face. Until one Christmas Eve, Scrooge receives three spectral visitors, encounters the bleakest terror and the richest delight, and learns, at last, the true meaning of Christmas. For Scrooge this will be no Silent Night...
No childhood can be complete without once experiencing Dickens' classic tale of redemption, and this magic adaptation by John Mortimer, full of laughter, thrills, songs and chills is a perfect start to a family Christmas.
This is a family play but is not recommended for children under 8 years of age.
'A Christmas Carol' was originally published as a novel in 1843 and met with instant success and critical acclaim. Written and published at a time when Britain was experiencing a nostalgic interest in its forgotten Christmas traditions, and at the time when new customs such as the Christmas tree and greeting cards were being introduced, it has been credited with restoring the holiday to one of merriment and festivity. The phrase 'Merry Christmas' was popularised following the appearance of the story, and the name 'Scrooge' and exclamation 'Bah! Humbug!' have entered the English language.
The book has never been out of print, and has been adapted to the stage, film, opera, and other media. The tale begins on Christmas Eve seven years after the death of Ebenezer Scrooge's business partner Jacob Marley. The story tells of sour and stingy Scrooge's ideological, ethical, and emotional transformation after the supernatural visitations of Marley and the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present, and Yet to Come.
This play was staged at Havant Arts Centre, East Street Havant - Bench Theatre's home since 1977.
|Ebenezer Scrooge||Alan Welton|
|Bob Cratchit||Neil Kendall|
|Jacob Marley||Jaspar Utley|
|The Ghost of Christmas Past||Alice Corrigan|
|The Ghost of Christmas Present||Andy Rees|
|The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come||Pete Woodward|
|Fred, Scrooge's nephew||Martin McBride|
|Tiny Tim||Rupert Powell and |
|Other parts played by||John Batstone |
Henry Trenchard Mitchell
|Act One Youth Theatre||Callum Cairns |
|Co-Directors||Nathan Chapman |
|Publicity||Jaspar Utley |
|Stage Manager||John Wilcox|
|Assistant Stage Managers||Jo Bone |
|Lighting Design||Andrew Caple|
|Lighting Operation||Paul Millington|
|Sound Design and effects||Daryl Wakelin|
|Sound Operation||Chris Stoneham |
|Set Design||Tim Taylor|
|Flier and Poster Design||Pete Woodward|
|Choreography and |
|Music Composed by||Damian Lodrick|
|Production Secretary||Robin Hall|
It could only be temporary insanity. It was 2003 and there were mutterings in the Company that it was too long (12 years) since we had last done a specifically "family" show. The membership in general was interested, providing the right project could be found; some felt that we should produce a traditional pantomime or perhaps a children's show (not unlike our forthcoming 'Haroun and the Sea of Stories') or..? At some point in the conversation, 'A Christmas Carol' was suggested and I volunteered to direct it.
The idea was put forward with all innocent enthusiasm, for after all, my first show at the Bench has been to take part in 'Martin Chuzzlewit', which has been a mammoth production, and unlike anything I had ever acted in before; a large-scale event that had been so enjoyable that the memories of it still bring a smile to my face now. Yes, a big Dickens production like that, of one of the most famous Christmas stories of all.
So I found myself a copy of the script and it was pitched along with all the other Christmas ideas for the company's vote, still, at this point thinking that someone else would want to direct it. The company did indeed vote for it and for me to direct it!
I had a year and a half to produce the show, surely this would be easy... I need another year... minimum.
Christmas has for a long time been my favourite time of the year (at no other point am I openly encouraged to eat too much and get presents as well!) and 'A Christmas Carol' has long been a favourite story, whether watching Alistair Sim or Albert Finney in the role, enjoying Bill Murray in the updated 'Scrooged' or marvelling at Kermit the Frog's definitive portrayal of Bob Cratchit in 'The Muppets' Christmas Carol' I have enjoyed each and every one, as I hope that you will enjoy this version tonight.
Many people have laboured long and hard to make this production happen and I would like to thank each and every one of them, but I've been given a word limit, but they know who they are... and if they don't they should have been paying more attention!
Thank you also for venturing out tonight to see the show. I hope it does fill you with Christmas cheer because that was our show's only intent.
So Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all, and may the spirits in your house this Christmas only be the ones you drink!
I am embarrassed to admit that what I remember about this well-known Charles Dickens story comes from 'The Muppets' Christmas Carol' and not from reading the novel years ago. So it's good to have a fresh memory - a delightful performance by Bench Theatre.
The cast, many playing more than one part, bring the streets of Victorian England to life as they tell the story of Ebenezer Scrooge. On Christmas Eve, miser Scrooge receives visits from three ghosts to show him Christmas past, present and yet to come and he discovers the true meaning of Christmas. It might not sound very cheery but there are actually plenty of laughs. The theatre company use a simple set and props to best advantage and have some wonderful costumes, especially those of the ghosts.
Alan Welton, who plays Scrooge, keeps the audience spellbound. But it's Neil Kendall who steals the show as Bob Cratchit with his captivating mannerisms. Also worth a mention are the talented actors playing the ghosts, including Jaspar Utley who appears dragging his chains behind him as the ghost of Jacob Marley and Peter Woodward as the eerie ghost of Christmas yet to come.
My only criticism would be the show is very long - three hours including interval. But after such a big dose of spirit an humour you won't be leaving the theatre saying 'Humbug'. Until December 19.
The News, 10th December 2004