REVIEW: Dickens’ classic tale staged in great style at Exmouth Pavilion

PUBLISHED: 14:28 19 December 2016

Ghost of Christmas Past (Hannah Douglas) with Ebeneezer Scrooge (Matthew Christmas).

Ghost of Christmas Past (Hannah Douglas) with Ebeneezer Scrooge (Matthew Christmas).

Archant

What would Christmas be without Dickens’ A Christmas Carol?

Peter Cratchit (Luke de Belder) with Ghost of Christmas Present (Jackson Pentland).Peter Cratchit (Luke de Belder) with Ghost of Christmas Present (Jackson Pentland).

Written in 1843, the classic Yuletide tale of the miserly Scrooge and his redemption through ghostly intervention has become so popular that creating a stage version that respects that familiarity while offering freshness and relevance to a contemporary audience is quite a challenge.

Chapterhouse Theatre’s recent production at the Exmouth Pavilion rose to that challenge in style. The sets may have been spartan, but imaginative use of sound and lighting created a powerful atmosphere, and the sensitive adaptation by Laura Turner retained the spirit of the original within the constraints of the stage. And although the cast was small, clever staging and puppetry enabled the portrayal of multiple characters, so the action never flagged.

Jackson Pentland gave a particularly noteworthy performance, tackling roles as diverse as Jacob Marley, Fezziwig, and the ghosts of Christmas Present and Christmas Future with aplomb. Meanwhile Scrooge – played by Matthew Christmas – provided a solid anchor for the production and a foil for the accomplished work of the other cast members.

With properly scary ghosts, atmospheric bell ringing and delicate renditions of traditional songs, this Christmas Carol delivered a true festive treat.

Delia Pemberton


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