Show was a delight with no weak links

REVIEW: A Christmas Carol, performed by Market Harborough Drama Society, December 11 to 15

Just the play for December. All about real Christmas spirit and the hollow rewards of materialism.

Most people know the Charles Dickens story of Scrooge, mean to the point of cruelty with his clerk Bob Cratchit, and whose only pleasure in life was counting his money.

Mike Allen portrays the miser in all his meanness.

While the rest of the world is making merry, poor Bob (Ian Southwell) wants to go home and join his family, but has his boss to contend with.

When Bob finally leaves, Scrooge goes to his lonely bed only to be surprised by three spirits, of Christmas past, present and future, which make him see himself as he is, so that the next morning he is totally transformed and ready to enjoy Christmas with the best of us.

Mike Allen makes this transformation triumphantly.

There is a large cast for this show, on a bare stage to tell this story.

The minimal props and the lighting enabled us to visualise the scenes as they pass before us – Richard Holyland was a magician with the lights.

There was some beautiful singing, particularly by Ella Rogers-Waterman and Matthew Hunt – who was a delightful and heart-rending Tiny Tim.

The ensemble speaking was most effective and there were many cameo parts which carried emotional impact – to mention just a few, Robin Garfield as the nephew, Les Dodd as Fezziwig, Tracy Southwell as Belle and Christine Richardson as Mrs Cratchit.

The children deserve a special mention too.

They made us laugh and made us pause for thought, as did this whole production.

It was a delight, with no weak links. Well done to Liz Clarke and her team – and to the whole cast.

There are memories which will stay with me – the haggling over Scrooge’s belongings was very funny and yet pathetic, and the kindness and cheer of Cratchit’s meagre Christmas dinner before Scrooge was transformed.

The laugh of the night was that gigantic prize turkey – where did Pru Normand (props) find it?

Jared Kingsley obviously enjoyed being the boy sent to buy it. Let’s hope that none of us have relations like Scrooge – if we have, they need to meet those most effective spirits.

By Susie Bevin