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A Christmas Carol at Exeter’s Northcott Theatre – ‘exuberant’

Darren Lake and Derek Frood in A Christmas Carol at Exeter's Northcutt Theatre. Photo: Farrows Creative Darren Lake and Derek Frood in A Christmas Carol at Exeter's Northcutt Theatre. Photo: Farrows Creative
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Marking the Northcott Theatre’s welcome return to producing, this joyful festive production is an undoubted success. Snowballs and carols, ghosts and magical transformations, there is everything to intrigue and entertain audiences in a well-paced adaptation, capturing the zest and spirit of Dickens’s well-loved tale.

A Christmas card set reveals glowing lighted windows and crowded festive streets. Episodic in writing and realisation, the production moves along as exuberant children help step up the pace. Whether carolling, cartwheeling or dashing through crowded streets, these young performers simply live their roles. Amanda Knott directs this tightly-played ensemble, the actors seamlessly sharing narration and linking scenes with carols to effect smooth scene changes.

Relishing the role of the mean and miserly Scrooge, Derek Frood, a hunched and bearded figure, is every inch the villain. His altercation with a door-knocker, seemingly the face of his old partner Jacob Marley is well done, a premonition of apparitions that will disturb the coming night. As the clock strikes, bed-curtains surrounding the huge four-poster reveal the first spirit.

Whether as motherly Mrs Cratchit, handsome Mrs Fezziwig or young Belle, accomplished ensemble actor Katherine Senior slips in and out of roles with ease. With generosity and sincerity every actor contributes to the success of this energetic production.

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Verdict
The Northcott Theatre’s return to producing is an exuberant, festive success
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