Thursday, 15 December 2016

"A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens.
Bingham Musical Theatre Company.
If anything is going to get you in the mood for Christmas, this play will. We all love a seasonal ghost story and with this classic you get four for the price of one. the three Christmas ghosts as well as that of Scrooge's old work partner Jacob Marley, resplendent in chains.
Performed as a promenade production at Radcliffe Hall in Radcliffe on Trent, this is the perfect location to stage the play. it's a beautiful house with great ambience surrounding it and fits in well with the Dickensian feel of the play. The promenading takes you from room to room and even outside the building.
While this makes for a novel experience for the audience member, it brings all sorts of possible issues for the director(Philippa Buchanan) and some of the cast members that need to change costumes. but if any issues were abound, then they were kept away from the eyes of the watchers. It all ran as smooth as mulled wine.
Scrooge was played by Graham Buchanan and he was classic Scrooge. i didn't see Graham I saw old Ebeneezer who was transferred from the mean old humbug to a generous caring employer after being shown the error of his ways by Jacob Marley (Peter Hall) and the Ghosts of Christmas Past (Zoe Stebbings), Christmas Present (James Parnham) and Christmas Future (Arun Hayes), who also doubled as Young Scrooge.
Bob Cratchett (Tony Alldread), Mrs Cratchett (Lindsey Parr), Tiny Tim/Young Scrooge (Harvey Taverner), Martha Cratchett.Maid (Alanna Brown), Dan/Julia/Want (Charlie Buchanan), Ignorance/Girl (Elizabeth Beech), Old Belle/Housekeeper (Philippa Buchanan), Party Guest/Other (Stephanie Brown/ Jenny Pike), belle's Daughter/Georgiana (Emma Swatton), Mrs Dilber/Party Guest (Rachel Barry), Charity Woman/Liza (Becky Morley), Dancer (Grant Hemmingway), Belle/Mrs Woods (Jess McLean), and Mr Fezziwig/Butcher ( Paul Green) completed the large cast. With a great smoothness for such a large cast list, the moving from one setting to the next was done with the greatness of ease.
The atmospheric lighting combined with the actual Hall settings made this quite an eerie experience at times, but there was also a lot of fun with the lively choreography, which if I remember rightly was also the work of Charlie Buchanan.
Watching Scrooge go back and remember his past was also quite an emotional journey because you could feel the regret and recognition of the error of his ways.
Being a period piece, you expect great costumes and that is exactly what you get. I know that a hell of a lot of hard work, blood sweat and tears have gone into this production and many early hours of the morning have been worked into to get these costumes as wonderful as they are.
This company are also not overflowing with cash in the coffers and when you look at the quality of the costumes and performance, the props, wigs, make up and everything else that went into this, you can not help but applaud the talent, hard work and passion that has been invested here.
Combine the wonderful acting skills of all of the above mentioned, the atmosphere of the location, the musical injections of Christmas carols and the hot mulled wine and mince pies made this production a seasonal sensation. You'll really get into the mood of the season with this Dickens classic.
"A Christmas Carol" by Bingham Musical Theatre Company is being performed at Radcliffe Hall, Main Road, Radcliffe on Trent until Saturday 17 December 2016. Tickets are £10.00 for adults and £5.00 for children.
Photos courtesy of Mitch Gamble Photos.

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