Director: Andrew Panton
Writer: Charles Dickens
Adapted by: Neil Duffield
Reviewer: Amy Taylor
Charles Dickens’ most famous melancholy miser, Ebenezer Scrooge, makes a welcome return to the Scottish stage in Andrew Panton’s new production ofA Christmas Carol. Adapted by Neil Duffield, and featuring a strong cast, is this latest incarnation of Dickens’ 18thcentury allegory the Christmas story that Scotland needs or deserves in these hard times?
Perhaps the most popular and most well-known of all of Dickens’ fables,A Christmas Caroltells the now classic tale of the uncharitable and unpleasant Scrooge (Christopher Fairbank) as he is forced to answer for his penny-pinching ways and confront his painful past in order to appreciate the true meaning of humanity and Christmas. But can he be saved from his selfish attitude?
The magic ofA Christmas Carollies in its timeless tale of redemption, compassion, care and love, and it’s a story that has only grown in popularity and strength since the original novella’s publication in 1843. However, the problem with the story is that because it has become so popular, it’s all too easy to overlook the story’s very relevant theme and message. Therefore it often takes a very talented director, cast and crew to bring new life and energy to this much-loved, but very well-worn tale. Panton’s production, which features a multitalented cast who tackle interchangeable characters, as well as juggling live music and puppetry, make the piece the ultimate crowd pleaser. Under Panton’s direction and designer Alex Lowde’s sparse red and grey set, this production ofA Christmas Carolappears on the surface to be a visually stunning piece, but it’s also a rather thought-provoking production too.
However, in modern Britain, which is currently blighted by high unemployment, poverty and cuts to essential benefits for the disabled and those who are unable to work, this piece has never been more relevant, and perhaps it’s never been more needed by the public than it is right now. Behind all the Yuletide cheer, tinsel and celebration, Dickens’ message is clear; it’s time to start to care more for those less fortunate than ourselves, and to look out for others in need, not just at Christmas, but all year round. And if this message is still as relevant now in 2013 as it was in 1843, then we, not just as a society, but as a species, need to start making some changes to how we view and help the less fortunate in our world.
Runs until:Saturday, the 4thof January