There’s a distinct feeling of humbug at Snape Maltings Concert Hall this December as Ebenezer Scrooge takes to the stage in a new Christmas Spectacular! production by the Co-op Juniors Theatre Company.
Based on the timeless Dickens novel, A Christmas Carol, the new show features all the familiar characters, including Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim, Jacob Marley and a whole bevy of ghosts in the form of Christmas past, present and future.
“We’ve taken a fresh look at the Christmas Carol story,” says musical director Nigel Virley, who has also written the script.
“We add our unique blend of signature song and dance numbers which enhance the fabulous Dickens tale. It’s many people’s favourite Christmas story, with strong characters and Scrooge’s journey from miser to funmeister!”
Scrooge a funmeister? In the experienced hands of performer Richard Rumbellow, who created the role at the Ipswich Regent back in 1997, audiences at Snape are guaranteed laughter in equal measure with the stunning staging, costumes and effects for which the group are famous.
“There’s a humorous side to Scrooge, which is perfect for our style of show,” adds Nigel.
With a cast of more than 100 and hundreds of costumes, the spectacle of the show has found a regular audience for the last eight years at Snape Maltings.
Says co-director Jeannie Ingram, “The concert hall is a world-class venue, and we’re delighted that Christmas Spectacular has proved so popular with audiences. Coming up with something fresh and innovative every year is a challenge, but we’ve added a storyline in recent years, which has reinvented the show.”
This year’s staging features a double height set with a revolving section which transforms from a Christmas tree to Scrooge’s bedroom where he encounters the ghost of his business partner Jacob Marley and the spirits of Christmas.
“There are lots of moments of stage magic,” reveals co-director Pauline Walker. “We have a great creative team who constantly come up with new ideas of how to stage such a large show with strong choreography and a new setting every year.”
The group is looking forward to celebrating their tenth anniversary show at Snape Maltings next year. In the meantime, rehearsals at their Ipswich studios provided by East of England Co-op are in full swing.
“There’s a real sense of anticipation this year, with such a well-known story interwoven with musical numbers to set toes tapping and raise the roof,” adds Nigel Virley.
Christmas Spectacular! is at Snape Maltings Concert Hall for 12 performances from Friday 13th until Sunday 22nd December. For performance dates and times, visit www.coopjuniors.co.uk.
For tickets, call the box office on 01728 687110 or book online at www.aldeburgh.co.uk/spectacular. Tickets are from £10 to £24, with group discounts. Coach companies also offer combined travel and show tickets.