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Review: A Christmas Carol at Washington Arts Centre

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Enjoyable Timeless Classic

A Christmas Carol

Washington Arts Centre

Thursday 10th December 2015

“I have endeavoured in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me” Charles Dickens: Introduction to A Christmas Carol.

Some tales survive the passage of time as they still resonate today. A greedy money man would rather die rich and friendless than pay a living wage to his workers. The basis of his 1843 tale could easily be a tale about the last few years.

In Box Clever Theatre’s production two buskers, Charlyne Francis and Jessica Dennis, are entertaining the audience as they arrive. Music and jokes lifted the spirits of the packed Arts Centre Washington audience. The jokes may have been of ‘Christmas cracker’ standard but they put a smile on faces as everyone took their seats.

Sean Kearney then stood up and refuses to contribute towards the poor. He asks if the workhouses are still open and the poor law is operating. Ah! It is Ebenezer Scrooge. A man who feels that the poor must have bought it upon themselves.  It may be Christmas Eve but he still expects his employees to be grateful that they have to do a day’s paid work tomorrow.

It is time for a visit by the Ghosts of the past, present and future to flag up a few home truths. At this stage, director Iqbal Khan has included some updating of the plot.  For example Scrooge cooks his meal for one in a microwave and Bob Cratchit is a fan of Lidl. 

The show has a mix of storytelling, puppetry, music and some friendly audience participation. All three actors have a real warmth which makes the audience feel a part of the show.  The use of UV lighting has helped bring the set, and the ghosts, to life.

The production is entertaining for families but it also has a profound message that still applies many years after the source material was first published.  The show doesn’t lecture, and it gives you a chance to get up and do the Macarena!  

A pleasing update on a timeless classic that is as relevant today as it has always been. A great finish to a fine year of theatre at Washington’s gem of a venue. The North East Theatre Guide is looking forward to seeing which shows are coming up at the newly refurbished Arts Centre Washington.

This review was written by Stephen Oliver for the North East Theatre Guide from Jowheretogo PR ( Follow Jo on twitter @jowheretogo, Stephen @panic_c_button or like Jowheretogo on Facebook

Read the original North East Theatre Guide preview of A Christmas Carol here:


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