By Charles Dickens,
adapted by Abigail Paul
Directed by Antonia Kitzel
Canberra REP Theatre,
Acton to 5 December
Reviewed by Len Power
27 November 2021
After a tumultuous year that saw the cancellation of much of Canberra REP’s season of plays due to the Covid lockdown, it was a nice idea to present a small scale production of “A Christmas Carol” to herald the approach of Christmas in a spirit of optimism for a better 2022.
Charles Dickens’ famous novella, “A Christmas Carol”, was published in 1843 and has never been out of print since then. It has been adapted many times for the theatre, radio, opera and film.
The grumpy old miser, Ebenezer Scrooge, undergoes a journey of redemption as he faces three ghosts who teach him the true meaning of Christmas and the joy that giving yourself over to love and compassion can bring.
Using an adaptation by Abigail Paul, which was first staged in 2015 by the Theatre Language School Frankfurt in Germany, five actors play 30 characters to tell the story.
Alexandra Pelvin is the Narrator and Saban Lloyd Berrell plays Scrooge. The other performers, Amy Crawford, John Whinfield and Sally Rynveld bring the various other characters to life by playing multiple roles.
The adaptation is a bit heavy on narration which slows the action down and the smaller number of colourful characters portrayed lessens the effect of the original story. However, this much loved tale is enjoyable and the hard-working cast all give fine performances.
This is a small scale production with minimal sets and properties and the director, Antonia Kitzel, and her cast have given us an enjoyably immersive evening into the world of Charles Dickens. With this production, Canberra REP and this show’s cast and crew have given us a ray of light at the end of a dark theatrical year.
This review was first published in the Canberra City News digital edition of 28 November.
Len Power's reviews are also broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7 in the ‘Arts Cafe’, ‘Arts About’ and ‘Arts Starter’ programs and published in his blog 'Just Power Writing' at https://justpowerwriting.blogspot.com/.