28th October - 2nd November 2019
Charles Dickens' classic story, A Christmas Carol, is adapted for the stage by Leslie Bricusse in this joyous family musical.
It's Christmas in Victorian London, a time of peace and goodwill to all men. All men, that is, except the miserly moneylender, Ebenezer Scrooge, who refuses to join in the festivities. But on Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by a succession of ghosts, who try to make him change his ways before it is too late!
|Musical Director||Tim Power|
|Ebenezer Scrooge||Steve Benson|
|Bob Cratchit||David Witt|
|Nephew Harry/Young Ebenezer||David Perks|
|Tiny Tim||Harry Cain|
|Kathy Cratchit||Holly Reevell|
|Jacob Marley||Mike Taylor|
|Ghost of Christmas Past||Julie Ogden|
|Ghost of Christmas Present||David Reeves|
|Ghost of Christmas Yet-to-Come||David McGreavy|
|Tom Jenkins||David Wilson|
|Mr Fezziwig/Punch & Judy Man||Joe Davies|
|Mrs Fezziwig/Jocelyn Jollygoode||Eileen Reeves|
|Hugo Harty/Dick Wilkins/Topper||Rob Slater|
|Mrs Ethel Cratchit||Jane Bickerstaffe|
|Mrs Dilber||Joyce Foster|
|Miss Dilber||Adrienne Wormald|
|Bissett the Butcher||Keith Shatwell|
|Wine Merchant||Meredith Collinson|
|Mr Pringle||Bert Ashton|
|Mrs Pringle||Barbara Martin|
|Beggar Woman||Teresa Harper|
|Mr Carstairs||Paul Duckworth|
|Boy/Young Ebby||Daniel O'Brien|
|Martha Cratchit||Nina Dickinson|
|Peter Cratchit||Zachary Baker|
|Belinda Cratchit||Ava Greenhalgh|
|Lily Charlson, Kathy Clift, Gill Clough, Gill Davies, Pam Gaffney, Val Greenhalgh, Linda Hardy, Dorothy Jones, Alan Moss, Ruth Prescott, Janet Richardson, Nicola Shallicker, Maria Sharrocks, Joyce Walters|
|Urchins and Schoolchildren|
|Zachary Baker, Mia Beardshall, Ava Greenhalgh, Daniel O'Brien|
Photographs by John Tustin
Reviews and articles
As Christmas approaches, what better way to set off the festivities than bring treated to Charles Dickens classic Scrooge, courtesy of Walmsley Church AODS. Adapted by Leslie Bricusse, the packed auditorium were engrossed in the familiar idiosyncrasies of Ebenezer Scrooge and his miserly ways, of which he is renowned.
As the scene opens, Musical Director Tim Power has created a superb vocal opening number with deep harmonies that not only gave a real sense of Christmas, but also displayed the vocal ability of the ensemble as they effortlessly set the scene, complete with authentic costumes and accessories; we are transported back to 1843.
Steve Benson plays Scrooge to perfection, complete with hair, attire and a pallor that was equivocal to a seemingly malnourished miser, every nuance, mannerism and vocal delivery was clear and concise, resulting in a confident first night performance that led this production throughout. I noticed a few teary-eyed audience members on several occasions as Benson sang and delivered with genuine emotion and feeling.
A visit from Jacob Marley, played brilliantly by an unrecognisable Michael Taylor warns Scrooge of three pending visits from the past, present and future. His resistance to the first visit by his late sister (Christmas past) does little to change his ways. Julie Ogden’s interactions are well-balanced against Scrooges resistance. David Reeves offers a robust Christmas present, almost standing no nonsense as he points out the errors of Scrooge’s ways, and it is clear that the cogs are turning, as Scrooge seems a little pensive. Christmas yet to come arrives and gives Scrooge an insight of what his miserable ways could lead to and it is here where we see a resurgence as he gives presents to everyone, including his cash, resulting in a joyous ending to this timeless piece.
There were a number of standout performances throughout. David Wilson as Tom Jenkins who, with a comic touch presents his numbers well as he leads the well-drilled company though choreographer, Vicki Wilson’s fitting routines.
David Witt plays a suitable Bob Cratchit, complimented by Jane Bickerstaffe as his wife. Harry Cain as Tiny Tim displays his beautiful singing voice, which sent out a pleasing hush as we listened to every word. Ebenezers almost estranged nephew, Harry was safe in the hands of David Perks, perfectly matched with Michelle Foster as his bride.
It’s great to see younger members take to the stage so confidently and Daniel O’Brien, Holly Reevell, Nina Dickinson, Ava Greenhalgh, Zachary Baker and Mia Beardsall are delightful.
Director Nora Howcroft has ensured this piece is conveyed traditionally and with an ensemble who look right and sound top notch, Scrooge the Musical is a pleasure to watch and from the atmosphere that came across the footlights is a pleasure to be a part of.
SCROOGE The Musical, Book, Music and Lyrics by Leslie Bricusse first performed in 1992 and adapted from the 1970 musical film Scrooge starring Albert Finney and a Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
Nora Howcroft’s production certainly makes you feel all Christmassy: the scene was set with enough hints in staging to give you the flavour of the time with Scrooge’s work place, the town, his bedroom, Bob Cratchit’s house and various other scenes. There were some problems with the large impressive bed getting it on and off the stage, but Scrooge managed to cover this.
I thought the scene at the end with all the shop door signs, opening on to stage with fairy lights was very effective.
Sound - Lea Royce and Elodie Perrier and Lighting - Norman Bowers and John Cocking add depth: I personally would have liked it darker in some of the scene changes, but that’s just my preference. Wardrobe by Mary Pyecroft looked really good and well thought out with Make-up by Sulwyn Mann and Team and Hair also adding to the feel.
Vicki Wilson as Choreographer had a challenge moving a big cast around on a relatively small stage and she accomplished this by keeping it simple but effective. Musical Director Tim Power worked his usual magic leading the Orchestra. The Ensemble worked well together and looked to be having fun (I did see some people stood in the wings, just need to be aware of sight lines for the audience).
Steve Benson playing Ebenezer Scrooge rose to the task and was rarely off the stage, having to sing and at various times undress or change clothes - no mean feat! We see a mean old man with a heart of steel melt before our eyes. I loved his moment singing A Better Life, it really moved me. His wig and attire all combined to make his character come to life – credit to Wardrobe as well as the actor! It was great to see his part delivered with a light touch of comedy aswell as a whole gamut of emotions – well played, Steve!
Eileen Reeves as Jocelyn Jollygoode and Mrs Fezziwigg showing you can have cameo roles and certainly make an impression - I loved her characterisations and in particular her facial expressions as Mrs Jollygoode - it immediately gave you a flavour of who she is.
Mike Taylor playing Jacob Marley certainly made an impact with his costume, hair and chains, looking like he had been dragged through a hedge backwards and eerie voice – perfect!
Christmas Past played by Julie Odgen, looked elegant and mysterious as she took Scrooge on a journey and later on revealing who she really was to Scrooge. Her song Love While You Can was simply beautiful.
Joe Davies playing the Punch and Judy Man and Mr Fezziwig - talk about an actor bringing on energy and vava-voom - can I have some of what he is on please - fabulous!
The Cratchits, playing the honest simple family, happy with their lot, worked well together: the younger children - Tiny Tim played by Harry Cain and Kathy Cratchit played by Holly Reevell - were a delight.
The rest of the cast collaborated effectively to portray their characters in true Dickensian manner - a credit to Nora. Well done to cast and crew – the show left you with a warm feeling, I felt like I wanted to come home to a sherry and a mince pie. Thank you for making my guest and I feel so welcome.
The show must go on — and is certainly did even when a blackout plunged the theatre into darkness.
A power cut in Egerton did not stop the talented actors in Scrooge The Musical, staged by Walmsley Church AODS.
Rather they continued by torch light adding extra atmosphere to the much loved Christmas story by Charles Dickens.
Director Nora Howcroft said: "Steve Benson was just about to start singing the final song 'I'll Begin Again' and we had a powercut.
"Everything was in darkness, Egerton had suffered a power cut.
"So I grabbed a torch and the show finished by torch light and people used their phones — it was magical!
"The show was only five minutes from the end and the community spirit was wonderful."
The theatre company is now in rehearsals for its next production Guys and Dolls!
"Scrooge the Musical sold out on three nights and almost sold out on the other three," said Nora, who added it was on par with the society most successful shows,"Guys and Dolls will open in April and our first rehearsal went very well."