Sunday, December 13, 2009

"A Christmas Carol" (NonsenseRoom/Meanwhile Theatre)- December 2009

Given our low tolerance for uncomfortable theatres, you may well be wondering what on earth made us decide to drag ourselves through to the outskirts of Edinburgh on a foggy night to sit on church pews in a chapel so bitterly cold that it requires hats, scarves, gloves and blankets. But experience has shown that NonsenseRoom's show's are worth suffering for, and "A Christmas Carol" is no exception.

With a cast of two, it's very much in a storytelling format and it feels very contemporary. Not 2009 contemporary, you understand, but 1843 contemporary - when Dickens wrote his classic tale. It's not difficult to imagine a show very similar to this being staged by an acting troupe in the grand drawing room of a stately home to the local landed gentry and their families. And I'm sure they would have loved it as much as we did. Whilst some may say 'old fashioned' we'd prefer to describe it as traditional family theatre at its best.

Andrew Warnock as Dickens/Scrooge and Stanley Pattison as Bob Cratchit (and just about everyone else) have an fantastic rapport and instantly connect with the audience. Their storytelling techniques may be low-tech but they are imaginative, creative and beautifully executed. Dickens, in particular, sounded and looked like he had stepped out of the 1840's, to the extent that it was quite disconcerting to hear Warnock speak in his own voice in a short post show Q&A.

For a show that is so much fun and gets plenty of laughs, its message of goodwill is strongly present and there is also a real feel of the impact poverty can have. Pattison's performance at Tiny Tim's graveside was utterly heartbreaking - Waldorf shed tears. But it was also nice to see an adaptation that gives Scrooge an additional reason to change his ways and hints at the rewards his redemption may bring.

NonsenseRoom and Meanwhile Theatre Productions have created a show full of wit, heart and charm. A joy from start to finish.

A Christmas Carol has completed its run at Rosslyn Chapel but will be at the Scottish Mining Museum at Newtongrange on 13th & 14th and then at East Kilbride Arts Centre from 17th to 19th December.

1 Heckle

Anonymous said...

A brilliant performance from both actors. The way they related to the audience with a slight change in accent or facial expression as they moved from one character to another was amazing. A thoroughly enjoyable evening.

The audience was perhaps not an appreciative as I would have thought, having I suspect expected a more conventional telling of the story rather than two actors doing a dozen or more characters.