Skip to main content

A Christmas Carol

Dundee Rep
Four stars

“Let them die,” says Scrooge about the beggars proffering their hands outside his well-insulated front door at the start of Dundee Rep's Christmas show. “Decrease the excess population.”

Charles Dickens' emotionally stunted miser hates the poor and the disabled, and imposes working conditions that would give latter day sweat-shop owners a run for their very dirty money. With a CV that resembles that of any latter-day fat cat you'd care to name, one could be forgiven for thinking the setting of Andrew Panton's seasonal production might have been updated in Neil Duffield's stage adaptation. As it is, there's very little need in a production which casts Scrooge as a woman, played with a magnificent sense of self-loathing by Ann Louise Ross.

Before that, we're ushered into designer Richard Evans' multiple layered Dickensian terrain by the nine-strong cast singing and playing a series of Christmas carols. They begin by parading through the audience with a sense of rambunctious glee, playing instruments as they go. Music is key to the momentum of the action, with Claire McKenzie's folk-tinged score lending a lush accompaniment to Scrooge's belated getting of wisdom.

As Scrooge is gradually forced to face up to her demons, Ross gradually reveals a damaged and more vulnerable side to the broken-hearted career girl who channelled all her energies into making money. There is fine support too from the Rep Ensemble, including an avuncular Lewis Howden as Fezziwig and Ewan Donaldson as Bob Cratchitt. Eleanor House and Hannah Pauley similarly excel, both making their professional debut as part of the Rep's Graduate Scheme. As a flaming gravestone rises up to make clear to Scrooge where she'll end up, for all the show's warmth, this is a plea for the rich to wake up to what's on their doorstep, whatever the century.

The Herald, December 11th 2017

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Peter Brook – The Prisoner

Peter Brook is no stranger to Scotland, ever since the guru of European and world theatre first brought his nine-hour epic, The Mahabharata, to Glasgow in 1988. That was at the city’s old transport museum, which by 1990 had become Tramway, the still-functioning permanent venue that opened up Glasgow and Scotland as a major channel for international theatre in a way that had previously only been on offer at Edinburgh International Festival.
Brook and his Paris-based Theatre des Bouffes du Nord company’s relationship with Tramway saw him bring his productions of La Tragedie de Carmen, La Tempete, Pellease et Mellisande, The Man Who…, and Oh Les Beaux Jours – the French version of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days – to Glasgow.
Thirty years on from The Mahabharata, Brook comes to EIF with another piece of pan-global theatre as part of a residency by Theatre des Bouffes du Nord, which Brook has led since he decamped to Paris from London in the early 1970s. The current Edinburgh residency has alr…

Romeo And Juliet - Shakespeare's Globe Comes to Glasgow

Open-air Shakepeares are a summer-time perennial of the theatre calendar, attracting picnicking audiences as much as midges. More often than not, such romps through the grass are frothy, heritage industry affairs designed to be accompanied by strawberries and cream and not to be taken too seriously. Shakespeare’s Globe theatre company look set to change such perceptions when they open their outdoor tour of Romeo And Juliet in Glasgow next week as part of the West End festival.

For the two young actors taking the title roles of the doomed lovers, it will also be something of a homecoming. Richard Madden and Ellie Piercy both studied in Glasgow prior to turning professional. Indeed, Madden has yet to graduate from the acting course at RSAMD, and, as well as facing the pressures of playing such a meaty role in close proximity to the audience, will have the added anxiety of being assessed and graded by his tutors.

“This is the end of my third year,” says Madden following a Saturday mornin…

Suzy Glass – Message from the Skies

Freedom of movement matters to Suzy Glass, the arts and events producer currently overseeing the second edition of Message from the Skies.This animated literary derive around the city forms part of this year’s Edinburgh’s Hogmanay programme, and runs right through till Burns’ Night. Glass’ concerns are inherent in the event itself, which has commissioned six writers from different disciplines and experiences to each pen a love letter to Europe. Each writer has then paired up with a composer and visual artist or film-maker, with the results of each collaboration projected in monumental fashion on the walls of one of half a dozen of the capital’s most iconic buildings.
With venues stretching from the south side of Edinburgh to Leith, and with one city centre stop requiring a walk up Calton Hill, there is considerable legwork required to complete the circuit. It shouldn’t be considered a race, however, and audiences are free to move between venues at their leisure, visiting each site on d…