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Canberra Today 18°/21° | Monday, January 24, 2022 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Rep’s ray of light ends a dark theatrical year

Saban Berrell as Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol”.

“A Christmas Carol,” by Charles Dickens adapted by Abigail Paul, directed by Antonia Kitzel. At Canberra Rep Theatre, Acton to December 5. Reviewed by LEN POWER.

AFTER a tumultuous year that saw the cancellation of much of Canberra Rep’s season of plays due to the covid lockdown, it was a nice idea to present a small-scale production of “A Christmas Carol” to herald the approach of Christmas in a spirit of optimism for a better 2022.

Charles Dickens’ famous novella, “A Christmas Carol”, was published in 1843 and has never been out of print since then. It has been adapted many times for the theatre, radio, opera and film.

The grumpy old miser, Ebenezer Scrooge, undergoes a journey of redemption as he faces three ghosts who teach him the true meaning of Christmas and the joy that giving yourself over to love and compassion can bring.

Using an adaptation by Abigail Paul, which was first staged in 2015 by the Theatre Language School Frankfurt in Germany, five actors play 30 characters to tell the story.

Alexandra Pelvin is the narrator and Saban Lloyd Berrell plays Scrooge. The other performers, Amy Crawford, John Whinfield and Sally Rynveld bring the various other characters to life by playing multiple roles.

The adaptation is a bit heavy on narration, which slows the action down and the smaller number of colourful characters portrayed lessens the effect of the original story. However, this much-loved tale is enjoyable and the hard-working cast all give fine performances.

This is a small-scale production with minimal sets and properties and the director, Antonia Kitzel, and her cast have given us an enjoyably immersive evening into the world of Charles Dickens.

With this production, Canberra Rep and this show’s cast and crew have given us a ray of light at the end of a dark theatrical year.


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