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Review: A CHRISTMAS CAROL is a festive must-see at Theatre On The Bay

Review: A CHRISTMAS CAROL is a festive must-see at Theatre On The Bay

The classic tale imaginatively recreated by Elizma Badenhorst

It just isn't the festive season without a version of Charles Dickens' A CHRISTMAS CAROL being told. This beautiful adaptation by the team from VR Theatrical is pretty much just what the doctor ordered. It combines song, animation, puppetry, voice overs, beautiful acting and a healthy dose of humour to warm the heart.

This is an interesting production that felt quite like a tale of two halves. The first act is completely different to the second. To begin with, the audience is addressed directly by actor Amber-Dawn Burnhams. She comes out as the character Mrs Fezziwig and tells the audience about Charles Dickens' life and how he came to write A CHRISTMAS CAROL. During this first act, Burnhams regales the audience with songs - her OLIVER TWIST medley is brilliant - and is thoroughly engaging. I was almost sad when the act ended and I knew that after interval we wouldn't be getting more of this.

Then it was time for the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge (played by Ashley Dowds) and his journey through past, present and future. Dowds was delightful and his journey from "bah humbug" into a man who loves Christmas and the people around him was so well pitched. I loved how he threw his body into such a strong physical characterisation. It bordered on caricature to bring humour to the role but he kept it just this side of realistic so you still felt for Scrooge.

No review of this piece would be complete without mentioning the gorgeous hand-drawn animations done by Naret Loots. Projected onto a screen at the back of the stage, these animations brought to life Scrooge's childhood, his nephew and family, and so many more characters and moments throughout the story. These were coupled with voice overs to give them even more life, and a score by Wessel Odendaal to set the mood.

I have to say, director Elizma Badenhorst seemed to think of the piece from all angles. She devised the entire thing, layering all of these different elements beautifully. It's a festive must-see and I am so glad the show finally came to Cape Town!

Photo credit: Supplied

A CHRISTMAS CAROL is on at Theatre on the Bay until 10 December. Performances are Tuesdays to Saturdays at 7:30pm and Saturday matinees at 4pm. Tickets range from R180 - R220 and can be bought from Computicket or the Theatre On The Bay box-office (021) 438-3300/1.



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