Scrooge triumphs in a masterly ‘Christmas Carol’

Because the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, Eugene Gilfedder offers a efficiency of Shakespearean proportions. Photograph: David Fell

Theatre / “A Christmas Carol”, directed by Michael Futcher. At Canberra Theatre till December 24. Reviewed by BILL STEPHENS.

REGULAR guests to the Canberra Theatre Centre, Queensland’s shake & stir Theatre Firm’s forte is revolutionary re-imaginings of literary classics. Notably memorable amongst them, “1984”, “Animal Farm”, “Dracula”, “ Jane Eyre” and “Wuthering Heights”.

This spectacular manufacturing of “A Christmas Carol” premiered in Brisbane in 2018, and since then has turn into one thing of an annual favorite with Brisbane audiences, having been seen by greater than 100,000 folks. Now having its first Canberra displaying, it’s not tough to see why.

Tailored by Nelle Lee and directed by Michael Futcher, this model of “A Christmas Carol” provides a very optimistic model of the Charles Dickens traditional. 

Josh McIntosh has designed a towering architectural setting, which with the assistance of the solid, sweeps across the stage, continuously reworking into Christmas-card pictures of Victorian London, because it propels the storyline via the various scenes. 

Swirling fog, fluttering snowflakes, Christmas bushes, holly wreaths, Christmas turkey, Christmas pudding and, after all, carol singers, are all there. Atmospheric projections and even holographic three-dimensional ghosts, dazzle the eyes, whereas the apparently large solid have interaction the mind enacting the acquainted story of how the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge lastly discovers the enjoyment of Christmas. It comes as fairly a shock on the finish of the present, when the actors take their bow, to grasp that there are solely 10 of them.

Judy Hainsworth in “A Christmas Carol”.Photograph: David Fell

Because the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, Eugene Gilfedder offers masterly a efficiency of Shakespearean proportions. At occasions humorous, critical, terrified or imperious, he dashes up and down revolving staircases, dodges visions that disintegrate earlier than his eyes, then lastly and convincingly converts right into a kindly and beneficiant employer. 

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Bryan Probets fascinates in quite a lot of roles together with Scrooge’s creepy nemesis, Jacob Marley, whereas Will Carseldine, Judy Hainsworth, Nick James, Arnijka Larcombe-Weate, Nelle Lee, Nick Skubij and Lucas Stibbard play everyone else. 

Musician Tabea Sitte is a continuing and efficient presence all through as she wanders via scenes offering stay accompaniment for the carollers and haunting atmospheric background music elsewhere.

Though sound-balance points on the opening efficiency meant that a lot of the dialogue was unintelligible, solely a Grinch might go away the theatre with out being enchanted by the ingenious performances and magical results on show on this masterly manufacturing. 

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Ian Meikle, editor