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Thursday, December 17, 2015


(Adam Dore & Marc Kay)

Enjoyable festive season family entertainment perfectly captures the spirit and sentiment of the original story. (Review by Keith Millar)

Charles Dickens wrote his timeless Christmas tale, A Christmas Carol, over 170 years ago. It has been adapted for stage and screen on numerous occasions and, with its message about the true meaning of Christmas, it remains as relevant today as it ever was.

It is an abridged version of this meaningful and ultimately heart-warming story that the innovative Actors Unemployed Company (AUC) are staging at Durban’s Rhumbelow Theatre over this festive season.

Scrooge: A Christmas Carol perfectly captures the spirit and sentiment of the original story. Most of the marvellous characters which are central to the narrative are introduced. All are played, as is usual in children’s theatre, somewhat larger than life and are delightfully entertaining.

Ebenezer Scrooge is a cantankerous old man. He has no time for Christmas. His poorly-treated employee, Bob Cratchit, invites him home for Christmas. But Scrooge refuses and says it is all humbug. On Christmas Eve, Scrooge is confronted by the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future and is shown the error of his ways. He changes his miserly behaviour and learns the true meaning of Christmas.

Marc Kay is a delectably grumpy and irascible Scrooge while Adam Dore is suitably humble as Bob Cratchit. Cratchit’s, sickly and crippled son Tiny Tim is played by Mtho Zulu. Between the three of them, they also handle all the other characters and voice-overs.

The AUC makes considerable use of their signature shadow puppetry to help tell the story. They have also worked many opportunities for audience participation into their script and this was thoroughly enjoyed by all present. Included was a game of 20 questions as well as the children having to shout out what they wanted for Christmas. My three year-old grandson ordered a chocolate train.

After the production the actors held a short and very informative workshop on the manipulation of puppets. Everyone was given the opportunity to play with a puppet and to practice the funny voices they would need for their characters. These innovative workshops, which have become a regular feature at the AUC productions at the Rhumbelow Theatre, certainly add an extra dimension to the youngsters’ enjoyment of their theatre experience.

Scrooge: A Christmas Carol is enjoyable festive season family entertainment which would keep the holiday boredom at bay for a while. I leave the last word to Tiny Tim – “God Bless us, every one!”

The show runs until December 23 and then again from January 4 to 10. Shows are at 10h00 except for December 21 and January 4, 7 and 10 when the performance starts at 14h00. Tickets R60 are limited so don’t delay – bookings through Computicket or Ailsa on 083 250 2690 or email or visit – Keith Millar