Review - A Christmas Carol in Mablethorpe

A Christmas Carol.
A Christmas Carol.

MABLETHORPECommunity Hall resounded with rattling chains and “bah humbugs” last weekend with Tennyson Players’ production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

This tale of the miserly Scrooge, persuaded to change his ways by a series of ghostly visitations, was entertainingly adapted by Shaun Sutton to include comedy and music.

Ghost of Christmas Past (Claire MacDonald); Scrooge (Ryan Robotham); Dick Wilkins (Tony Richards); front row - Emma Fezziwig (Emily Vaughan); Mrs Fezziwig (Jo Bowen); Fanny Fezziwig (Becki Bowen);Mr Fezziwig (Chris Flanagan); Adolphus (Chris Pratt); Augusta (Julie Thomson); Dora (Carrie Fisher).

Ghost of Christmas Past (Claire MacDonald); Scrooge (Ryan Robotham); Dick Wilkins (Tony Richards); front row - Emma Fezziwig (Emily Vaughan); Mrs Fezziwig (Jo Bowen); Fanny Fezziwig (Becki Bowen);Mr Fezziwig (Chris Flanagan); Adolphus (Chris Pratt); Augusta (Julie Thomson); Dora (Carrie Fisher).

The cast publicised the production with two carol-singing jaunts around Mablethorpe and Sutton, dressed in costume, which brought in good audiences.

Skilfully directed by Joanne Bowen - who also played two contrasting roles (the likeable Mrs Fezziwig and a bickering Cockney) - this production bounded along at a cracking pace.

Ryan Robotham played Scrooge with power, passion and physicality, and a twinkle in his eye. Peter Wattie gave an unnerving Marley’s Ghost, displaying effective vocal delivery as he emerged through a green fog. He also showed versatility by stepping into an additional role at the last minute.

The other ghosts: Claire MacDonald (a statuesque Christmas past complete with glowing headdress), Moira Love (a grandmotherly Christmas present resplendent in green velvet) and Chris Pratt (an eerily masked and hooded Christmas yet to come, in addition to two other major roles) led nightgown-clad Scrooge through time.

The Ghost of Christmas past.

The Ghost of Christmas past.

A scene when three businessmen (Stan Stanton, Tony Richards and Chris Clarges) jovially discuss Scrooge’s death, before falling noisily asleep, was absolutely hilarious.

The Cratchit family (Toby Barnes and Laura Hickin; children Harriet Barnett, Carrie and Leigha Fisher, Ady Bracey and Zak Gledhill - an excellent Tiny Tim) interacted with natural warmth and humour.

The action was interwoven with several Christmas carols (one beautifully sung a cappella by Beki Bowen), comic songs and dances by two portly gents and two cockney fishwives and a lively country dance at the Fezziwigs’ party.

Notable was a superb mime sequence by Chris Flanagan (Mr Fezziwig) whose mastery of physical comedy had the audience guffawing.

The use of projection for settings created instant Victorian pictures for us and enhanced the supernatural scenes; although it had its limitations when more naturalistic effects were required. However, interesting shadows were created which often added drama.

Simple black and white screens helped to transform the modern hall and to provide wings. Lighting (by Doug Marnock) was atmospheric, suggestive of candle-lit interiors. Props were just enough to create period and the superb costumes added depth and authenticity.

It was especially heartening that so many excellent young actors were involved. This production made this well-known moral tale moving, entertaining and enormous fun.

There will be one last performance of the play in Alford, at St Wilfrid’s Hall (opposite Co-op) at 2.30pm on Saturday, December 17. Tickets are available on the door or by calling 01507 462795. Adult tickets are £4 and children £2.