Thursday, December 22, 2022


Written by Charles Dickens

Adapted by Nelle Lee

Directed by Michael Futcher

Shake & Stir Theatre Co.

Canberra Theatre to 24 December.


Reviewed by Len Power 21 December 2022


The perfect show for the Christmas season, ‘A Christmas Carol’ has it all – a good, classic story, fine acting and breath-taking, elaborate staging.

Ebenezer Scrooge, in his quest for wealth, has lost the spirit of Christmas, becoming an embittered, lonely recluse.  One evening, close to Christmas, the ghost of his deceased former partner, Jacob Marley, appears before him in chains and warns him he is likely to suffer the same fate when he dies.  One by one, the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Yet To Come make him see the error of his ways and rejoin the human race in celebrating Christmas.

Charles Dickens wrote the novella, ‘A Christmas Carol’, in 1843 after reading a parliamentary report on child labourers which particularly moved him.  He, himself, had been a child labourer and he drew on that experience as well as those of his disabled nephew, the desperate struggles of the poor people at the time and the renewed Victorian interest in Christmas.  The story has remained popular ever since and various movies and theatre productions have retold the story in their own way.

Shake & Stir Theatre Co.’s production uses all the technical wizardry of the modern theatre to tell this story.  The supernatural element of ghostly apparitions and story flashbacks make this a difficult story to present convincingly but the company succeeds marvellously.

Eugene Gilfedder as Scrooge with members of the company

There are eight actors and one musician in this production.  Eugene Gilfedder plays Scrooge very effectively and the rest of this expert company play multiple roles, breathing life into all of the elaborate Dickens’ characterizations.  Tabea Sitte is a violinist who provides the appealing musical accompaniment to the action.  The composer is Salliana Campbell.

Josh McIntosh's set for 'A Christmas Carol'

The amazing production is designed by Josh McIntosh.  Sooty, dark, tall buildings loom out of the London night and back projections complete the picture of Victorian England.  The presentation of the ghostly spectres is extremely well-done with an exciting mixture of old and new technology.  The lighting, designed by Jason Glenwright, and the sound, designed by Guy Webster and Chris Perren, are an important part of the production, adding great atmosphere generally and some real shivers when the ghosts appear.

A great family show, ‘A Christmas Carol’ is true to Dickens’ source novella and is magically and memorably told.


Photos by David Fell

Len Power's reviews are also broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7 in the ‘Arts Cafe’ and ‘Arts About’ programs and published in his blog 'Just Power Writing' at