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A Christmas Carol. Image provided by RBL.

A Christmas Carol Comes to Reading

“You been stealing from the poor and unsuspecting dead again?”

It’s a strange line to hear over and over, but it rang out as I observed the rehearsals of Reading Between the Lines’ (RBL) new show, A Christmas Carol. The play uses beautifully made puppets, but more than that, Scrooge is actually female in Anna Wheatley’s adaptation of the classic show.

Not only will it be exciting to see how the gender reversal plays out, what with the show’s run just starting now at the South Street Arts Centre, but Wheatley has also opted to keep the gender of one of the love interests the same, adding a LGBTQ+ theme to the show that wasn’t previously there.

Jorda Whyte, who plays the protagonist, Scrooge, said: “I don’t think it makes any difference to the story”.

Indeed, while the gender reversal and changing of Scrooge’s sexual orientation may modernise the play, it’ll hardly impact the established plot of the Christmas show we all know and love, so audiences are expected to leave with their nostalgia very much intact.

Forever a sceptic of puppets in anything that isn’t The Muppets, I quizzed the cast on the choice to include them, and was surprised to find myself a little converted by their responses. Whyte explained that the play uses a variety of different forms of puppets for different sections, so that the past is able to look and feel different for the audience from the future and present.

“With a puppet there is so much more freedom with the acting” further clarified Angelina Chudi, who plays the ghosts of Christmas present and future, as well as young Scrooge, “for the audience the imagination is able to run much wilder”.

Still not convinced? Take a look at the trailer for the show:

Christmas is coming soon so don’t be a Scrooge, female or otherwise!



To read more about the show and book your tickets, see the link below:



About Kahina Bouhassane

Kahina Bouhassane is a third year English Literature student at the University of Reading and Entertainment Editor of the Spark Online. She has published articles in local newspapers and publications and was one of the 2017/18 Editors of the Reading University Creative Arts Anthology. She has completed an NCTJ accredited Foundation course in Journalism and has worked internships in Publishing and Marketing.

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