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|A Christmas Carol|
|A Christmas Carol
by Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens' tale of Ebenezer Scrooge's transformation from embittered skinflint to generous benefactor has been dramatized by Mortimer. It retains Dickens' own ironic point of view through the use of the a chorus to propel the drama.
Review by George Allan (January 1982)Although we had a foretaste of Youth Action Theatre's A Christmas Carol at Teddington Theatre Club's carol event before Christmas, I was unprepared for the emotional punch that the production packed at Hampton Court Theatre on Sunday.
Director Eric Yardley devised the production, letting Dickens be impersonated as narrator and incorporating some of the songs from the Bricusse musical Scrooge. It worked well, despite an over emphasis on the literary nature of the story, and survived playing in the round which made for a great deal of inaudibility from even the most experienced members of the cast.
The musical side of things was under the direction of Peter Roberts, who made his customary telling effect at the piano, although I felt that his colleague on guitar and other stringed instruments deserved a credit too.
The cast was huge, as always with YAT, so that it is possible only to mention a few of the players. Ben Furey began well as Scrooge, but was too soft-centured for my taste - this miser gave in too easily.
Andrew Wale made a fine impression as the Ghost of Christmas Past until he began to shout, when the conviction went out of the character - however, he redeemed himself later as Peter Cratchit, balancing beautifully the sentiment of the love for his parents with the first glimmerings of understanding of the real world.
Carol Palmer was gorgeous Mrs Cratchit, a loving countrywoman with a heart and spirit that were boundless.
Adam Bolland avoided sentimentality as Tiny Tim, and there was a devastating undertaker from Chris Walters.
The fire and conviction of the performance as a whole, though, swept sway most of the criticism. But I beg these talented young artistes to consider that their audience do not know the text as well as they do!
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