REVIEW: A Christmas Carol at Louth’s Riverhead Theatre

YOU can’t beat a good story, even better if it contains the odd ghost or three, a sprinkling of atmospheric theatrical effects that’ll make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and a fair dollop of humour to draw out the proper Christmas message.

This entertaining cocktail, carefully adapted by Maureen Lill from Dickens’ thought-provoking classic, draws out the best in us and even in Scrooge, the miserly old greedy misery who finally has a change of heart and understands, for the first time, the goodness of giving and caring at Christmas.

Thoroughly splendid performances from Jamie Harris (Fred/Scrooge at 25), Jeremy Smith (Gentleman 1/Mr Worthers/Guest 2), Bruce Bourquin (Narrator/Old Joe) and Andrew Attridge (Scrooge – even his voice starts off in a penny-pinching tone) keep the production flowing with some particularly enjoyable scenes derived from the talents of Babs Graham (Charwoman/Mrs Fezziwig), Sarah Paul (Laundress), Evan Holt (Tiny Tim) and Jessica Booth (Belle).

Add a chorus of happy, smiling children singing carols, a fiddler accompanying a jolly square dance and the evening is all yours to enjoy.

The set is just perfect, accurate in detail but spartan – in fact the only ‘busy’ set is the Cratchetts’ Christmas table and, please, do not take your eyes off the fantastic roast goose – a starring role if ever there was one!

The set, as well as the costumes, serve to underline the tension between poverty and greed, happiness and misery – it’s all clever stuff.

Treat yourselves this festive season with a personal gift of the true meaning of Christmas.

A Christmas Carol runs until Saturday December 10 at the Riverhead Theatre, Louth. Shows start at 7.30pm.

For tickets call the Box office on 01507 600350, opening hours 10am-1pm Monday to Saturday.

Further information and details visit www.louthplaygoers.co.uk.

Review by Susan Hewer.