Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” is probably as popular now as it was in the 1800’s. A tale of hope, that no matter what our opinions and beliefs, change is possible…. even when you are as miserable as Ebenezer Scrooge.
Although I knew and love Dickens’ classic tale, I must confess that I was not familiar with the musical version, despite it first being performed in 1994. Therefore it was with a little trepidation that I took my seat at Bury St Edmunds’ Apex Theatre to see the CTC’s latest production. These outings have now become an annual tradition for us in the days after the Christmas festivities. In the past couple of year’s we have seen excellent interpretations of Cats and Hairspray, but we arrived knowing we were going to have a good time as the songs were familiar….. this is much harder to achieve when none of the songs were known prior to the performance.
These worries were of course ill-founded as CTC have once more cast their magic on a story that will leave you with that lovely warm fuzzy feeling!
The first 15 minutes sets the story as we meet the miser Scrooge, (Matt Gilchrist really is old before his time!). The stage is packed as we see the city folk preparing for the forthcoming Christmas celebrations, well all but Scrooge who really will not the be the life and soul of the party.
This story is of course well-known, enter the ghost of the misers old partner Marley who warns Scrooge that he needs to change, three more ghosts visit the old man that night and we see his life of the past (allowing us to understand his miserable outlook), the present and his possible future.
Finally we find out what is to become of Scrooge….
It’s always hard to single out individuals in large cast productions as it really is a team effort and this team are brilliant. However stand-out performances come from the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future, Mariam Pope (what a voice!), Charlie Leggett (just a fun performer who brings great humour to his role) and newcomer Leah Head, one to watch.
CTC is a young people’s theatre company, but this is not some thrown-together production. The company is probably the finest am-dram company that I have seen in professionalism, and therefore I’d urge you to forget the age or background of the performers and go along as you will be seriously impressed.
Don’t be a humbug… book now!
• A Christmas Carol is at the Apex Theatre, Bury St Edmunds until Wednesday 2nd January, 2019 with two performances – tickets still available – 01284 758000
More on the company at www.thectc.co.uk
Pictures Mike Kwasniak
Review Mark Keable, Ipswich24 Magazine