I suspect while almost all of us know the basic themes of Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, few of us have actually read the novella. What we know is the change in Ebenezer Scrooge after being visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come.
It has been made into no less than 28 films, at least 36 different stage productions and the story is deeply embedded into English and American culture.
The production I saw at Circa last night was different to many, as it was a one man show, with Ray Henwood narrating the book and playing all characters. Henwood not only looks the part, but sounds it also.
Most will know Henwood from his role in the fabulous Gliding On series. Henwood is also one of the founders of Circa.
There is no ad libbing in this play. Every word of dialogue is from the original novella. For someone who has never read the book, I found it deeply satisfying. Henwood has a gravitas that was made for the production and was supported by a simple yet effective script, some wonderful period costumes and sympathetic lighting.
The play is not just a reading. Henwood gyrates between narrating the story at the lectern, and acting the roles across the stage.
If you’re never read the full story of A Christmas Carol, this is a great chance to have it performed in front of you over a couple of hours. It is on until 22 December.