For someone who appears to have a rather cynical exterior and doesn’t care much for the structure of custom, I’m rather fond of the Christmas period. As you can tell by my rather incoherent rambling on audioboo, I find this current time of year rather uplifting. To be exact, I choose to remove myself from whatever darkened corner I may be occupying and walk towards to the light.
Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is one of those texts that fills me with warmth. My other half and I spend the few weeks before each Christmas reading the story to each other. A faded, paperback edition but somehow this gives the experience a rather timeless feel. I also watch and listen to favourite adaptations including Scrooge (the 1951 film version with Alistair Sim), The Muppet Christmas Carol and Jim Dale’s unabridged reading. The story has been adapted in many ways and sometimes not particularly well (the musical film version with Albert Finney springs to mind) but I’m always willing to hear and watch an adaptation of the work.
So it was rather fortuitous that I managed to see Blue Orange Theatre’s final performance of A Christmas Carol. My hopes were high as it was a new theatre that I had not heard of before and they were performing a personal favourite. There is always a slight doubt in the back of one’s mind that any raised expectation can only lead to disappointment and therefore, one tries to dampen any excitement with cold subjectivity.
I need not have worried as the evening was an undiluted joy. It was a small and intimate stage, with a small group of actors where the majority were playing multiple characters but the sheer energy, physical dexterity (plenty of costume changes) and delivery of lines made all doubts dissipate.
It was a reminder that great theatre doesn’t need vast production just imagination and the ability to engage an audience. There were many children present who looked as captivated as members of a theatre audience should be. The production managed to raise the ghost of Dickens’ idea that did not put anybody out of humour with themselves or with the theatre. A success in every possible way.