“What the Dickens?” Scrooge shouted before she met the first of the three spirits. And honestly, same.
This interpretation of Dickens well-loved Christmas classic, adapted by Anne Wheatley, opened as a play within a play where nasty boss Evelyn is forced into putting on a play as a Christmas treat for her hardworking employees: the audience. Be prepared for some enthusiastic attempts to force audience participation.
I hope I don’t have to give you a spoiler warning because we all know the plot already, but Ebenezer Scrooge is not normally played by a woman, and despite a small nod to this change at the beginning it didn’t actually affect the plot or the effect of the play at all. In fact, a lot of the roles are played by a seemingly gender-blind casting, probably because there is only one male actor in the cast. This is helpful in allowing the brilliant yet small cast of four manage to wield the numerous roles effectively with the aid of flashy costume changes and, of course, puppets.
Yes, puppets. Honestly, I personally had a few issues with the idea of puppets before seeing the play. And there are a few occasions where you need a moment to accept them, but the script allows for this and most of these moments are played for laughs. There are also other moments when the puppets are large and imposing and downright fear inducing. Over all, I can attest to the puppets being a brilliant addition to an already good play.
So, if you happen to be some kind of die-hard Dicken’s purist- I’m sure there are some out there-(or you just hate the dance craze flossing) you probably won’t like this play. If, however, you’re willing to laugh out loud more often than not and happy to tolerate that audience participation fear, then give it a watch.