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Boys Perform 'A Christmas Carol'

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Old Boy Sam Warburton (Class of 2018) reviews the recent production of A Christmas Carol:

For four nights, pupils from Years 9 to 13 staged an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The classic tale tells the story of the miserly misanthrope Ebenezer Scrooge who is visited by four ghosts on Christmas Eve and undergoes a dramatic transformation into a kind, warm and generous man.

The production was staged in the Boys’ Division Great Hall. The Hall’s raised stage, central aisle and numerous doors were well utilised to create a truly intimate and immersive experience. The lighting and sound effects were incredibly impressive. Liam Maloney served as technical director having previously assisted on shows with the school. Liam was assisted by Harvey Ryan and Nathan Hayes and all did a marvellous job of creating and maintaining an atmosphere that shifted from foreboding to hopeful and from festive to frightening.

The cast was led by Jude Ashcroft, who gave a commanding and energetic performance as Scrooge. Jude captured Scrooge’s callousness well, sneering down at Bob Cratchit and the audience from the podium, and then went on to portray a man forced to confront his own evils before changing for the better.

Jude was supported by a talented cast of pupils who exhibited not only great professionalism but also a good sense of fun. Particularly memorable performances came from Tom Whitehead as Fezziwig and Finley Littlefair as Bob Cratchit who serve as foils for the cold selfishness of Scrooge at the beginning of the play. Anthony Johnson and Jayden Luhar portrayed the ghosts of Jacob Marley and Christmas Yet To Come respectively and each gave suitably spooky and menacing performances.

Kiran Sanstry took on the iconic role of Tiny Tim and did so fabulously. His early scenes of familial joy and later scene where he welcomes the reformed Scrooge in for Christmas dinner were moving and a delight to watch. Hannah Clark, who joined the cast from the Octagon Youth Theatre, starred as Belle, Scrooge’s ex-fiancé and Tom Griffiths and Zayd Ascroft played the ghosts of Christmas Past and Present. Charlie Griffiths brought energy and hopefulness to the role of Fred, Scrooge’s nephew.

The main cast was supported by an ensemble of pupils who helped to frame the action and drive the story onward. Direct quotation from Dickens’s short story helped make this an authentic and meaningful piece, whilst the use of props such as Scrooge’s coffin and Marley’s chains really made key scenes stand out.

This was a really enjoyable and professional play. Thanks must go to the Octagon’s Imogen Woolrich and School’s Mrs Fielding who provided direction and choreography respectively. Final thanks must go to our Director of Drama and Creative Learning, Ms Lord, who produced the show and allowed a cast of very talented pupils to shine.

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