A Christmas Carol, Living Spit at Durweston and Bristol

revuLivingSpitTHEY tackled the mighty Tudors with Henry VIII (and his Six Wives), and the Virgin Queen (and her did-she didn’t-she love life) and poked fun at the 20th century’s most unlikely couple, Adolf and Winston.

Now Howard Coggins and Stu Mcloughlin take on Scrooge and the cast of characters in A Christmas Carol, delighting fans on an Artsreach tour, before four weeks at the Tobacco Factory in Bristol for Christmas, from 8th December to 3rd January.

The Bristol-based duo, who perform together as Living Spit, have a huge following all over the West Country with their iconoclastic take on history.

Chubby Howard (who was obviously a shoo-in for Henry VIII) may not be everyone’s idea of the miserly Scrooge, who ought by rights to be thin, bent, grizzled in a bad way, with a face etched with grim lines. Nope. Howard is cuddly with a round face that struggles not to grin.

But this is theatre, and if you can believe in three ghosts who come into somebody’s bedroom, stop the clock and take them back 50 years and into the future in the same night, you’ve got no problems with cuddly Coggins as scrawny Scrooge.

playsLivingSpit_xmascarol2Stu makes a pretty good woman – well, not sure about the pretty or the good, but he has long legs and he can make his voice do lots of interesting things. Nice tutu, too.

So, anyway … Howard is getting in touch with his inner grump and Stu is everyone else, from poor Bob Cratchit to an infuriating chugger, from Scrooge’s true love (Angharad from HR if you’re interested) to all the phantoms and spirits, past, present, future and not available in the bar.

Somehow, with the aid of a guitar, a voice-over, a super-comfy armchair, a rubbish grave-stone and more costume changes than a pantomime dame, they tell the story, with some crazy updating, a bit of music, a lot of silly stuff, loads of laughs … and a warm heart.

It was just what the capacity audience in Durweston village hall wanted for Christmas. Well, they would have liked an interval to have something to drink, but this is Scrooge’s show, and he calls the shots. And that’s not the vodka kind.

Seriously – it’s a joy, so if you missed it in Dorset, head to Bedminster and give yourself a treat.


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