Review by Peter Burdon

Peter Barlow’s irresistible take on Dicken’s A Christmas Tale is brought to life in this witty and enjoyable play by the Adelaide Repertory Theatre.

Just a few weeks after Patrick Marlow’s splendid adaptation of Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps graced the Playhouse stage, the Adelaide Repertory Theatre presents his equally irresistible take on Dicken’s A Christmas Tale.

The story is much as it has been since 1842, with the unscrupulous usurer Ebenezer Scrooge receiving Yuletide visits from the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, but it’s given a comic makeover that neatly references the sins of the payday lenders of today.

In the lead is the ever-excellent Tony Busch, a perfectly miserable Scrooge if ever there was, casting dire imprecations on all and sundry. Every other member of the cast play multiple roles, carollers, debtors, spirits, skaters, ghostly helpers and more, and they are all terrific.

Special mentions go to Matt Houston’s turn as Scrooge’s beleaguered clerk Bob Cratchit, and a wildly funny account of the ghost of Scrooge’s former business partner Marley, while David Salter does a blinder as Scrooge’s estranged nephew, and a cybernetic Spirit of Christmas Yet To Come among a raft of other roles.

Laura Antoniazzi and Georgia Stockham triumph as Christmas Past and Christmas Present respectively, among a baker’s dozen characters.

And mention needs also to be of Jacqui Maynard and Max Rayner, doing sterling work with the puppets that account for another twenty or so implicit members of the cast.

Director Megan Dansie delivers a really accomplished account of a witty and enjoyable Christmas bon bon.

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