Review by Steve Davis
The Adelaide Repertory Theatre’s production of A Christmas Carol is a festive romp that breathes new life into the Dickens classic.
There is magic in the way this cast bubbles with joy throughout the show, with more ham than a Christmas feast.
Director Megan Dansie has delightfully taken Patrick Barlow’s witty and cheeky adaptation of A Christmas Carol and added some dance, musicality, and puppetry to create a gift of frivolity for the Rep’s loyal audience base.
From the opening scene, Tony Busch is the perfect, Seuss-like Scrooge well-paired with Matt Houston as Ebenezer Scrooge’s right-hand man, Bob Cratchit.
And while the whole ensemble is superb, Georgia Stockham is worthy of particular mention for her wonderful array of characters from timid Mrs Lack to the strident Ghost of Christmas Present.
In fact, hats off to all the players, many of whom played at least four characters, and most of those demanding very fast costume changes.
Traditionalists will enjoy the fact that the story follows the traditional narrative route while more adventurous audience members will enjoy the embelishments and flourishes like the wordplay (unlatch it, Cratchit), comedic breaking of the fourth wall including the false ending (oh, that was a majestic delight), and the “bold” use of puppetry, prop maneouvres and a steampunked Ghost of Christmas Future.
Amid the heady delights of ham and slapstick, Dansie and cast also conjure aparitions of thoughtfulness and emotion. Scrooge’s character, for all his repugnance, is treated sympathetically. For those of us guilty of workaholism, we feel his pain when the Ghost of Christmases Past reminds Scrooge of the night his wife left him on Christmas Eve because he chose to work late; I must work, he laments, I do this for us.
Yet another production that pulls out all the stop and lives up to Scrooge’s exclamation; Christmas is a wonder and I love it. So, too, is this production. Very much worthy of buying tickets for Christmas presents for you and your kin.’