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A Christmas Carol

Published Friday 9 December 2011 at 16:55 by Catherine Usher

This modern setting of A Christmas Carol is a bold idea, but it also demonstrates the inherent difficulties of trying to update such a Christmas classic.

Replacing the “Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?” line with talk of homeless shelters and benefits sits rather awkwardly, but the most incongruous part is poor old Tiny Tim’s ailing health predicament. Haven’t the Cratchetts heard of the NHS? Not only could it treat poor Tim for free, it could even provide the family with a wheelchair so they can stop lugging the not so little lad (Rosie Thorpe) around on their backs.

Yet, such is Sell a Door’s unstoppable enthusiasm, there is plenty to celebrate about the production, which is full of humour, inventiveness and festive musical accompaniment, created live on stage by the multi-talented cast.

Jess Mack is particularly delightful as the Ghost of Christmas Past, whose tinkling laugh conceals her steely character (great costume too) and Stephen Barden’s Scrooge is suitably austere and commanding. Charlotte Mason-Apps is a breathtakingly beautiful Belle and Lee White shows his versatility as the wretched spirit of Jacob Marley and the bemused, humble Bob Cratchett.

So, those who favour convention and tradition may do well to avoid this update, but in terms of bravery and energy, it scores very highly.

Production information

Greenwich Playhouse, London, December 6-January 16

Charles Dickens, adapted by David Hutchinson and Anna Schneider
David Hutchinson, Anna Schneider, Philip Ryder (musical)
Sell a Door Theatre Company
Stephen Barden, Nick Bechman, Tara Godolphin, Katrina Innes, Rowena Lennon, Jess Mack, Charlotte Mason-Apps, Jenny Palmer, Christopher Rowland, Rosie Thorpe, Lee White
Running time:
1hr 50mins

Production information displayed was believed correct at time of review. Information may change over the run of the show.

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Run sheet

King's Head, Islington London
January 24-February 15 2014