Tuesday, 8 December 2015

REVIEW - A Christmas Carol.... More Or Less


LAST year new kid on the theatrical block, the Bridge House Theatre in Penge, brought us a gem of a production in It's A Wonderful Life.
This year they've looked to Charles Dickens for inspiration for their festive offering and have chosen his A Christmas Carol, one of the classics of English Literature.
Set at Christmas it tells the story of Scrooge and how he becomes a better man. It is a moral tale and a hugely uplifting one.
It is this story that forms the basis of A Christmas Carol…. More Or Less, essentially a play within a play and one that grips you from the off.
It starts off with young director and owner of the fictitious theatre Sarah Armitage welcoming us, her audience, to the venue, one she has owned and run with her husband Charlie for three years. She tells us it’s been a struggle but she’s grateful for all the local support.
We are waiting for the show to start but unfortunately there has been a bit of an incident. Charlie comes back to tell Sarah that the entire cast has been involved in an accident at a dry slope skiing centre in Chatham, thus not able to come and do the show.
But that’s not all. For not only is the future of the show now in doubt, it also seems that the theatre is too. For Charlie is about to call time on his marriage and skip town and head off to LA, minus Sarah and their son, to pursue his dream of writing scipts for some trashy reality TV shows.
However, the feisty Sarah is not one to give up easily and instead she convinces him that in the best traditions of theatre the show must go on and that he should help her do the show – just the two of them.
And so that is what they do, hurtling through the story of how Scrooge is visited by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future and how he begins to see the error of his ways.
As he does so Charlie also begins to change and has a Scrooge-like epiphany. But will he go to LA or will he decide to stay with Sarah and his son and the theatre?
Nichole Bird and Ben Woods excel as Sarah and Charlie in this fast paced show which is laced with poignancy and humour. Beautifully directed by Guy Retallack it really packs a punch and is a real gem of a production.

A Christmas Carol... More Or Less is on at the Bridge House Theatre, Penge until Tuesday, December 22. Tickets from £10. Visit www.bhtheatre.com/ or call the box office on 020 8133 0311.

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