A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens adapted by Naylah Ahmed. Jermyn Street Theatre & Guildford Shakespeare Company on line to Sunday 27 December 2020. 4****. William Russell.

Yet once more with feeling comes Dickens’ perennial Christmas tale, a production whose pleasures include a spectral Penelope Keith in benevolent rather than Margo mode, more Miss Havisham than anything else, as the Ghost of Christmas Past and Brian Blessed in slightly less than his usual foghorn mode as the Ghost of Christmas Present. Scrooge is played by Jim Findley and everybody else is played by everybody else in the four strong cast. They demonstrate admirable versatility. The Cratchit children are played by members of the Guildford company’s drama clubs.
The result is a handsome, no nonsense telling of an oft told tale which, if it has to be told again, and there is no reason why not, then this is as good a way of telling it as can be. There is the odd shaky moment when scenes are filmed separately, when the backgrounds do not match – the two ghosts are not in Scrooge’s bedroom for a start – but it is a quibble. There is also one of those moments when somebody hands something to someone else in quite the wrong direction. However the whole zoom experience is uplifting – watching on line solitary is not the most cheerful of things to do – and while I admit to being just a little tired of A Christmas Carol this is a heart warming, pleasing version of Christmas as invented by Dickens. Bah humbug? Well, just a bit but in these no longer oven ready days a tale focused on an unsold on Christmas day monster turkey has its drawbacks. I have always wondered just how the Cratchits cooked the wretched thing – it w usually takes hours – in time.
However, mid pandemic in a world of shortages the message of helping others who have not still works.
Scrooge: Jim Findley
Christmas Past: Penelope Keith.
Christmas Present: Brian Blessed.
Everybody else = Robin Morrissey; Paula James; Lucy Pearson.

Director: Natasha Rickman.
Costumes: Anett Black.
Sound: Mark Eaton.
Visual Background & filming: Beth Mann.

Dates – December 20 – 3pm & 7pm
Christmas Eve: 3pm & 7pm
Boxing Day 7pm.
Sunday 27 December – 7pm
Tickets £20.

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