Step into Christmas at the Octagon Bolton
By Hilary Dawes
Directed by Georgia Murphy, “A Christmas Carol” is a joyful new adaptation by Kate Ferguson and Susannah Pearse and guaranteed to get you in the mood for the festive season. Aimed to appeal to children and grown-ups alike, this was a magical performance, perfectly capturing the Dickensian atmosphere. Kate and Susannah’s adaptation added a fresh perspective to the tale, looking at the importance of love, family, and community, whilst remaining faithful to the spirit of the original well-loved story.
Brilliantly portrayed by Laurie Jamieson, with impeccable comedic timing, Scrooge’s characteristic grumpiness and mean-spiritedness was tempered by some wonderful comic lines, particularly during his encounters with the various ghosts, each played perfectly by Jonathan Charles, as the lugubrious Jacob Marley, rattling his chains with relish, Lauren Patel as a twinkling Ghost of Christmas Past, and Lianne Harvey, as the gloriously glitzy Ghost of Christmas Present. Scrooge’s loveable and ever-forgiving nephew Fred was beautifully played by Robert Wade, making us feel for Fred with every put-down from his cold-hearted uncle. Playing the exuberant character of Mrs Fezziwig, Grace Firth completely captured the essence of Christmas with her wonderfully rousing party scene. The youngest cast member was Dominic Smith, giving an accomplished performance as Tiny Tim.
Remaining characters were played by the same adult cast members, who also provided the music throughout, and one can only wonder at their amazing virtuosity, with the ability to simultaneously act, sing, dance and play various instruments with a dizzying level of multi-tasking!
High praise too for the team who together created the magical atmosphere, with musical direction by Matthew Malone, lighting and sound design by Timothy Skelly and Annie May Fletcher, set design by Katie Scott and choreography by Jonnie Riordan. The assistant director was Ryan McVeigh.
With toe-tapping original music and memorable songs, this is a must-see production, guaranteed to soften the heart of even the most “bah humbug” individual!
Playing until Saturday 14 January 2023