A Christmas Carol with a Radio Budleigh twist
PUBLISHED: 18:30 02 January 2018
Charles Dickens’s ageless tale of a miser’s festive enlightenment was retold in Budleigh Salterton to an audience warmed by mulled wine and seasonal cheer.
The play, scheduled to be staged by the Salterton Drama Club, was Ayckbourne’s Season’s Greetings, but due to casting difficulties, A Christmas Carol took its place in the format of a Radio Budleigh production, directed by Wendy Gomm.
It was a shame to see several empty seats at the performance I attended. Perhaps it was the cold winter evening that kept folk tucked up at home, or perhaps, like me, they prefer a trip to the theatre to be an all-encompassing experience, and having a play read rather than ‘performed’ doesn’t quite hit the spot.
That said, it was read very well, with a fantastic backdrop complete with impressive giant flaps that opened and closed to reflect different settings, ingenious sound effects and with a smartly-dressed cast donning suggestions at costumes, bonnets, shawls etc. But it was, essentially, a reading – a cast stood in line reading from scripts in the style of a live radio studio production.
It was lovely to see new faces on the Salterton Playhouse stage, and I presume the prospect of reading from a script is less daunting than having to learn reams of lines, which hopefully made the production a great introduction to performing with this fantastic local group.
Among a great cast directed well and with eloquent and articulate delivery, Molly de Reya, Joyce Pomeroy and seasoned Playhouse performer David Holt particularly shone.
The fact that the three main narrative voices were sharing a microphone and therefore had to keep stepping forward and back in turn, interrupted the flow of passages of John Mortimer’s script.
The performance was well received by the audience and I did enjoy it. I was just conscious of being partially transported to and not wholly immersed in, Dickens’s enchanting Christmas tale.