As the festive season approaches, a trip to see the Chapterhouse Theatre’s latest production of Dicken’s famous ‘A Christmas Carol’ got me in the Christmas Spirit with not a humbug in sight.
Staged inside the Smaller Pavillion Theatre at Buxton Opera House, The Chapterhouse Theatre have brought back their Christmas Carol Production for another year with a fair few contemporary tweaks to keep this 19th century tale fresh and relevant.
It’s quite a stripped back production with quite sparse hand painted props and backdrops which may seem reminiscent of a school production but this adaptation has real heart and the team use what props and set they have to get the best out of it.
The cast are what make this production; a small ensemble that take on a number of different roles to deliver the adaption for stage, modernised by Laura Turner and directed by Antony Law. It shows the talent and resilience of the cast with how quickly they are able to adapt to each role in a heartbeat, one moment they might be playing Marley, the next Bob Cratchit - quite impressive really.
Scrooge is played skilfully by Matthew Christmas and is kept busy just playing the one role, joined by Gareth Cary, Eliza Jade, Graham Hill, Alexandra Lansdale, Amy Llewellyn and Zachary Price taking on the remaining roles.
Special mention should go to Llewellyn who helped make the musical numbers pack that extra punch.
I was particularly impressed with how the cast adapt to a small space, cleverly working alongside specially created 12ft tall puppets, spooky sound effects and a couple of Yuletide songs performed live thrown in for good measure to keep you entertained throughout.
This isn’t a massive production with all the bells and whistles, but what it delivers is a traditional Scrooge experience which has been lovingly tweaked year on year by a dedicated cast and creative team.
Touring around the UK in all kinds of venues including Cathedrals and Museums, this is a show to add your festive calendar this year, full of heart, music and Christmas Cheer.
Verdict: intimate Scrooge Experience with lots of heart!
Reviewer: Max Eden
Reviewed: 21st November 2019
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★