Leslie Bricusse's Scrooge
Review by: Paul Towers, 24 November 2017
Photos: Pamela Raith
A Made At Curve production starring Jasper Britton
Curve 18 November 2017 to 7 January 2018
'a magical festive family treat.'
Once again director Nikolai Foster has assembled a talented team of actors and production staff to create a magical festive family treat, although with the caveat that maybe under 7's may find it a little loud and scary.
Scrooge is lyricist/writer Leslie Bricusse's take on Charles Dickens' Christmas Carol. Ebenezer Scrooge is a misanthropic, miserly skinflint who begrudges the air that others breathe because he can't monetise it. His faithful clerk, Bob Cratchit, struggles to feed his family on the parsimonious wages he gets while also trying to give crippled Tiny Tim the best life he can.
Designer Michael Taylor has created a huge set which flies and slides to create a myriad of locations in Victorian Dickensian squalor. Lighting designer Ben Cracknell not only had to ensure that all the stage was suitably lit but also had to contend with the specialist needs of the magical illusions created by Scott Penrose and the various pyrotechnic effects needed. To add to the magic Tom Marshall designed some great sound effects, especially for the ghosts.
Now we come to the cast, for what good are all the special effects and sets in the world without actors' Jasper Britton as Scrooge makes a welcome return to Curve after his triumph in What The Butler Saw and as a newly appointed Curve Board Member. While Jasper has huge acting experience and capability, singing is not one of his greatest talents. That said he is more than capable of putting a song across and the part does not call for an operatic voice. He is superbly supported by a huge cast that has a large presence of Curve Young Company members, many of them familiar faces from past shows. The main cast also contains several familiar faces and, of course, the obligatory soap star. In this instance Danny-Boy Hatchard (From Eastenders).
The show is packed with songs, the best known is probably Thank You Very Much. As with all Dickens stories there is precious little humour in the narrative but a huge dose of salutary lessons and moralising. Once again Dickens spells out the shortcomings of Victorian England; the poverty, the unsanitary living conditions alongside the pauper's determination to 'be grateful for what we've got'.
All in all this is, despite the grim conditions, an uplifting tale of redemption (Scrooge) and familial stoicism (Cratchit) spliced together with great songs.
Scrooge is on at Curve until 7 January 2018. While there are few seats left for matinees, evenings are easier http://www.curveonline.co.uk/
Paul Towers: http://ptheatre.blogspot.co.uk/