A Christmas Carol

Date 12th November 2022
Society West Kirby Musical Theatre Company (WKMTC)
Venue The Gladstone Theatre
Type of Production Musical
Director Mike Ellis
Musical Director Rob Bowness
Sound & Lighting Dave Molloy & Max Haxby
Producer Dave Molloy
Written By Chris Blackwood & Piers Chater-Robinson

Report

Author: Joanne Rymer

A Christmas Carol

WKMTC

12/11/22

 ‘A Christmas Carol’ it must be Christmas!  

During the last twelve years of his life Charles Dickens toured Britain and the USA reading his writings professionally to his adoring public. The most popular of all these readings was ‘A Christmas Carol’

It is the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a greedy miser who hates Christmas, but is transformed into a caring, kindly person through the visitations of four ghosts (Jacob Marley and the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future).  The classic work has been dramatized and adapted countless times for virtually every medium and performance genre, tonight at the Gladstone Theatre WKMTC present the musical adaptation from Chris Blackwood with lyrics from Piers Chater- Robinson, keeping true to the original story with the introduction of new memorable musical theatre songs This was a production I admit I had not seen before.

The evening opens with Charles Dickens (Michael Kennedy) introducing us to the character Ebenezer Scrooge, as our narrator his story telling threaded through the show. Michael is also to be found playing other characters within the extremely talented ensemble. A fine performance

Scrooge (Carl Howard) is an erasable miserly character constantly complaining, and disliking Christmas.  Carl gave a fine performance; he was both sensitive and funny, but still capturing the grumpiness of this well known character.  Young Scrooge (Nick Hawkswell, who also played nephew Fred) is simply charming, his duet with Carl ‘Remember’ was beautifully sung, wonderful voices a highlight of the show for me.

The ghost of Jacob Marley (Gerry Johnston) appears to warn Scrooge he will be visited by three ghosts, past, present and future. Gerry did a spookily great job of Marley, but even more intimidating as the Ghost of Christmas yet to come. Well done.

The Ghost of Christmas Past is a sparkling fairy (Debbie Simnor) who sang ‘Shine the Light’ which she did beautifully.  John Phipps gave us a heartily strong Ghost of Christmas Present.  Just an observation, Scrooges  visits with the Ghosts could have been more animated, maybe stepping into each scene, he was static stage left for quite some time. Carls microphone on the Saturday matinee was crackling, obviously a malfunction, he did well to continue.

The Director Mike Ellis has to be complimented casting was spot on, WKMTC Iis such a  talented society .The folding panto type set was ambitious, however did look a little cumbersome at times. Praise has to go to the wardrobe, it was magnificent. Such colour variety and so imaginative, well done to the wardrobe team: Carol Garland, Joan Reynolds-Jones and Sheila Disley.

The Fezziwig’s party: what splendid performances, Keith Phillips and Kathy Jorden are outstanding, as the fun loving couple. Once again the costumes reigned supreme, Mr Fezziwig’s bright red hair was genius.   Mr Fezziwig was Scrooge and  young Jacob Marleys (Joe Thurlow)  first employer.  Scrooges first love Belle (Kelly Seville) gave a touching rendition of ‘Heart of Gold’.  A lively ensemble scene, the stage full but never looked over crowded, well managed choreography.

You cannot have a Scrooge without a Bob Cratchit (Dave Don) his wife Emily (Helen Roberts) and his family. They were superb as the hard working couple looking after a  family: their duet ‘Do as the Cratchit’s Do’ was an absolute joy. The children, Martha (Gabriella Kirby) Belinda (Sophie Jenkins) Peter (Jacob Reynolds) and of course, Tiny Tim (Daniel Ashton) who was adorable, melting all our hearts. Daniel had confidence, talent and definitely one to watch’ for WKMTC future I think.  Joined by the other children of the company they sang ‘God Bless’ before going to bed, not a dry eye in the house. We all fell in love with the Cratcits.

Praise for Musical Director Rob Bowness and his extremely talented orchestra. His arrangement and musical direction was both imaginative and faultless! together with good sound and lighting (Dave Molley, Mike Haxby & Clinton Ball) enhanceing  this imaginative production.  Congratulations, to all concerned.

Well what can be said of Scrooges housekeeper Mrs Dibler (Tia Gill) and Scrooges laundress Mrs Filcch (Wendy Newton?) pure pantomime. They were sublime, facial expressions, over the top costumes; it is a perfectly timed comic performance .they stole the show. Joined by Old Joe the multitalented Keith Phillips(again) I loved ‘Just Desserts’ a true showstopper, brilliant. Congratulations Tia & Wendy.

The cast had an absolute ball performing this show,  and I can honestly say that it is the perfect musical for an amateur group catering for men, women, children...as well as giving parts to the less musically accomplished.

This was a perfect .show choice for WKMTC the whole cast (too many to mention). gave their all.

Thank you for a wonderful entertaining evening, I loved the show.

Joanne Rymer

NODA

District 4