Monday, December 21, 2015

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol adapted by Kirsty Budding from the novella by Charles Dickens.  Budding Theatre directed by Jamie Winbank and Kitty Malam.  At Teatro Vivaldi, ANU, December 21-23, 2015.

Reviewed by Frank McKone
December 21

How can I remain in my habitual curmudgeonly role as a critic, now that I’ve seen the miser Ebenezer Scrooge turn his life towards empathetic Christmas cheer in just 45 minutes?

No.  No, I cannot!  I can only write positive comments, despite what happened to Scrooge: Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset.... [on the last page, p82, of A Christmas Carol in the 1907 Everyman’s Library edition of Christmas Books by Charles Dickens].

We all laughed at Kirsty Budding’s exaggerated representation of the pageant of the ghosts of Christmas Past (Jade Breen), Christmas Present (Anna Miley) and Christmas Yet To Come (Jason Sarossy), narrated well over the top by Zoe Swan.  Scrooge (Oliver Durbidge) could not contain himself in the negative nor the positive, from the vision of Marley’s Ghost (dead as a doornail!) to offering Bob Cratchit (Brendan Kelly) and his family Mrs Cratchit (Bridgette Kucher), Martha Cratchit (Abigail Mitchell), Belinda Cratchit (Olivia Adamow) and “Tiny” Tim Cratchit –  who did not die –  (Callum Doherty), not just Christmas Day off work, but the whole week!

Unfortunately for a reviewer, co-directors Kitty Malam and Jamie Winbank were so clever at moving masses off, on and around the tiny Teatro Vivaldi stage, that I’m left to record that only another 26 young people performed.  They remain nameless here as an encouragement for all those who haven’t yet booked, to see the show for the laughs, the program with all their names in, and for the message – still true to Charles Dickens’ intention – “as was always said [of the reformed Scrooge], that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge.  May that be truly said of us, and all of us!”

Brebdan Kelly as Bob Cratchit

Jade Breen as the Ghost of Christmas Past

Oliver Durbidge as Scrooge