A Christmas Carol

Malvern Theatres


Dickens’ popular novella, A Christmas Carol, is a famous moral tale: Ebenezer Scrooge, the mean and cynical employer, who hates Christmas and dismisses all mention of it as ‘humbug’, spends a very uncomfortable night on Christmas Eve, confronted by the Spirits of Christmases Past, Present and Future.

He is made to face up to his own miserly character, his cynical dismissal of those less fortunate than himself. He comes to admit his faults; he is converted and becomes a generous-hearted member of the community.

This is the inaugural production of the Malvern Theatres Stage Company. Over recent years the Theatre has, through its Young Players productions, cultivated talented young actors in the locality, many of whom have gone on to become professional performers. This new Stage Company will provide the opportunity for some of these ‘graduates’ to perform professionally on the Malvern stage. The plans for future productions are an exciting new development.

This was an opening show of high quality. The use of projections on the back screen, the well-designed lighting and the sound effects combined to establish a powerfully dramatic atmosphere. The use of silence and movement is very effective in drawing the attention of the audience; combined with strong sound effects, this grips the audience and establishes suspense very effectively.

The cast is strongly led by Toby Burchell as Scrooge. He avoided overplaying the role both in its unpleasantness early on, and his warmth as a later convert.

Ben Mowbray played Bob Cratchit, Scrooge’s employee, with an accent and a degree of respectful tension. Emily Henry as his wife was particularly good in the scene near the end when she begins to come to terms with the fact that the nasty Scrooge is apparently a changed man.

The ensemble cast around these central characters are very well directed and effective in their roles; they bring variety and colour to their scenes and provide songs – carols especially – to enhance the action, and indicate shifts in time and scene. The harmonies were appropriately haunting at times, delightful at others.  

This production runs in the Forum Theatre until the 30th December. This initial production of the Stage Company promises much in the coming months.

Tim Crow


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