Pub theatre the Bridge House has a strong reputation for its Christmas shows, and this year it takes on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, with Rachel Izen in the role of Scrooge.
With original music from performer/puppeteer/players Jamie Ross, Ben Woods and Saorla Wright, the show turns the space’s limitations into strengths. There are some issues with sight lines – a given in this small space – but audience interaction and Amy Rose Mitchell’s atmospheric and effective set design maximise the benefits of the intimate theatre.
While staying true to Dickens’ original, Guy Retallack’s adaptation and Paul Harris’ choreography slim down the story to make it work effectively for the small cast of four. However, two hours feels on the long side and it could have done with further edits.
Izen’s Scrooge is played straight – there’s no messing about with the fact she is a woman – and Scrooge’s transformation scene is strikingly moving.
Saorla Wright is particularly strong, swapping swiftly between all the many female roles – the ghost of Christmas past, playing and narrating, with varying accents for each. In fact, all three ensemble members are impressive jumping between the many characters.
Costume, puppets and prop design are efficiently used to add layers to the production, but Tiny Tim’s stick figure puppet crosses beyond twee.