A Christmas Carol

Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich

>Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich

Christmas comes but once a year, and in the hard, dark times of Dickens it filled but a single day. Though in Scrooge's case, it came with a long night of soul- searching.

As the season of traditional theatrical fare gets under way, this Christmas Carol by John Mortimer is more than a rerun of the old favourites – Scrooge's redemption, Ghosts and Tiny Tim's tragedy.

It brings the journey alive from page to stage – an opportunity grasped by the large cast with energy and conviction.

The temptation with a storyline so familiar is to parody. But all resisted, even Marley's Ghost in heavy chains.

The atmosphere was well conjured with the poverty, cold and misery of the opening funeral.

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Young Scrooge (David Robb) and Belle (Camille Simms) impressed in the scene, conveying a relationship that could go nowhere.

Old Scrooge (David Wines) struck a balance between his skinflint self and his generous self and was ably assisted by young and old actors alike.

The Ghosts were originals, the carols and whole company narration were effective. Children and puppets were a pleasing touch from director Tim Seely.

While some of the staging was uncertain, as the run goes on this will be a surefire family success and truly heartwarming.

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