As Christmas trees begin to appear in windows and frost twinkles in the early morning sunshine you begin to feel that Christmas isn’t far away.
Now, you either love Christmas time or you don’t, but there’s one show that’s guaranteed to put you well and truly in the Christmas spirit and that’s Scrooge the Musical. Whitwell Players couldn’t have timed this production better either, as the last show was on the first night of advent, a time when advent calendars are opened and candles lit.
I often comment on the warm welcome Whitwell’s acting community extend to their audiences and this show, directed by Jo Thorpe, certainly enabled them to make us all feel part of their family.
I should think that everyone knows Charles Dickens’ story of the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge. His ghostly visitors help him see the error of his ways and encourage him to enjoy life and to help those less fortunate.
Peter Lack has certainly hit the ground running since joining the group in February. He now finds himself playing the lead role and taking on the role of musical director. Although young in appearance, Peter made an excellent Scrooge and I think, because of his age, he actually added something to the part. He was, in turn, wonderfully cantankerous and bossy and later, jolly and exuberant. Not only this, he sang with feeling too.
Whoever did the casting here has a very good eye. In fact I think everyone in the cast found their ideal slot in this production. Luke Fletcher was perfect as Bob Cratchit and Laura Barrett made a serene Ethel, Bob’s wife. Joanna Thorpe was the warm Ghost of Christmas Past, Tom Monroe the jolly, but firm Ghost of Christmas Present and Shirley Hill the eerily silent Ghost of Christmas yet to come. Gary Williams was the tortured ghost of Jacob Marley, a part he seemed to take to. Toby Bagnall was the affable nephew to Scrooge and Daniel Fessey, the young Ebenezer and Topper.
Steve Barnes and Nic Pelham were ideal as Mr and Mrs. Fezziwig and Julie Starr and Jeannie Raspin acted their parts with style as Jollygoode and Harty. Lauren Greenhalgh played the parts of Helen and Isabel and sang melodically.
Codie Dexter just glowed with acting pleasure as Tiny Tim, as did the Cratchit children, played by Olivia Cookson, Harrison Reynolds and Georgia Goucher-Jones. Chrissie Goucher was the toyshop owner Pringle, Tayla Davie, Mary and Jess Starr, Bess Jenkins.
Along with the Urchins and Chorus Whitwell Players made this another production to remember. The feeling of goodwill to all at the close was almost tangible and just when you thought it couldn’t get any better a snow machine blew fluffy flakes of snow across the final scene. Perfect!
by Wendy Fidoe