A Christmas Carol at Frome Merlin Theatre

scroogeTHE Christmas show at Frome’s Merlin Theatre has built up a reputation for multi media invention and quirky excellence over the years.

And for the production of Chris Blackwood and Piers Chater Robinson’s musical version of Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, returning director Claudia Pepler has excelled herself.

Massive puppet figures join atmospheric projections to enhance this big-cast show full of dancing, comedy, pathos and some scary bits.

With its four-strong band, students from Tri. Art Dance Academy, and a versatile set, this is an interesting version of the familiar story.

Steve Huggins is a perfect Scrooge, full of the gall of human misery in the first half, and thawing into a delighted child by the end.

Claudia not only directs but plays the ghost of Christmas past, leading the curmudgeonly Scrooge up the first steps to redemption.

The show is introduced by Charles Dickens, played by Nick White, and there are memorable characterisations by Ryan Hughes as Bob Cratchit, Claire Johnson and Tracey Ashford as the humorous Mrs Dilber and Mrs Filch, Aynsley Minty as the rumbustious Mr Fezziwig and Leone Harrison as a poignant Belle.

Several of the younger members of the community company play the young Scrooge, Marley and others, and the show gives lots of opportunities for cameos.scrooge 2

The programme itself has been charmingly illustrated by Sarah Godsill, emphasising the

ensemble nature of the whole enterprise.

I saw the schools’ performance, and the attendant squealing and giggling was hushed as soon as the action started – quite a feat for the actors.

I was only sorry at the example set by the teachers and attendants, some of whom were playing on their mobile phones during the performance.

The show continues at various times until Saturday 13th December. Contact the Merlin for full details


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