We all know A Christmas Carol. The Charles Dickens novel that has become absolutely synonymous with Christmas – performed in theatres up and down the country every year in various formats. Rightly so too, because it’s absolutely wonderful. A heart warming tale of a bitter and selfish old man rediscovering his love for not just Christmas, but humanity.
In many ways the choice of show couldn’t be more fitting for a theatre that has put humanity and care for others at the heart of what it does for it’s entire 50 year history – never more so than today.
So, it’s no surprise that they have produced an incredible Christmas show – adapted for the stage by Neil Duffield – a Bolton man who started as a carpenter at the theatre in 1971 and was inspired to write plays within 10 years of being involved. Couple that with new musical arrangements by Rob Hiley (very well written they are too) and we have a unique, entertaining and heartfelt production.
Marc Small in the role of Scrooge is absolutely superb throughout. This quality, versatile actor is no stranger to the Octagon but this might be his best performance to date. The audience are in the palm of his hand throughout – brilliantly portraying the humour within his role, meaning there is lots in this play for children to enjoy.
Sue Devaney is always thoroughly entertaining to watch (at all times) and she certainly is here too. The cast are superb across the board including a young company who perform extraordinarily well with their older counterparts – which must be a pleasure for Director Ben Occhipinti who has produced another treat.
The set is simple but incredibly effective, the lighting is stunning and the overall tech is on point.
There is a real depth in this show. The characters are well developed and you learn alot more about Scrooge’s history early on and how he became the man he did. Performers play their own instruments whilst clever set and props bring the story alive as much in your imagination as on the stage itself.
Act two is genuinely heart warming and there were some happy tears around the audience as this magical production served up a generous feast of festive spirit for every single audience member.
Tickets will fly out for this production so get yours quickly. Simply visit octagonbolton.co.uk to get yours. Just before you go – we’d like to wish a very Merry Christmas to you and all our Bolton readers from At The Theatre. See you next year.