Monday, December 24, 2012


Pica Productions in All Saints' Hall Springfield

That great philanthropist and social campaigner would be delighted to hear his best Christmas story performed to raise funds for Great Ormond Street.
This revival by Pica Productions of Jim Crozier's adaptation travelled to three Chelmsford villages just before the holidays, a timely reminder of some of the real truths of the festive season.

It's not a dramatization, but the narration, and the dialogue, is creatively shared between the seven actors, with a refreshing variety of voices. Not unlike Dylan Thomas's Play for Voices, Under Milk Wood.

Scrooge, the "grasping old sinner" at the centre of the story, was Richard Baylis, who sensitively suggested the waggish human being behind the Bah Humbug, and was moving in his change of heart.

Crozier himself, as well as a narrator, was a finely characterized Cratchit, Greg Whitehead played young Scrooge and his nephew – his infectious laughter a tour-de-force. Beth Crozier, Anna Jeary and Debbie Miles covered Dickens'women, from Mrs Dilber to Fan and Belle. Many plum roles, and plummiest voices, came from Roger Johnson – Marley, Fezziwig, the schoolmaster and the portly gentleman.

We enjoyed the famous moments, of course, the death of Tiny Tim was superbly done, but it was a real pleasure to meet the whole Cratchit clan, and to be reminded of the story of Ali Baba and Crusoe's parrot.

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