A Christmas Carol - Questors
Get your festive fix at Ealing's local theatre
Christmas isn't really complete without seeing at least one version of this classic Dickens' tale. Jim Carey may be pulling them in at the cinema in the latest all singing/ dancing hi-tech version but I tend to favour the more traditional.
So, as the first snows of winter fell in Ealing I took myself and my 10 year old daughter off to Questors to get us in the festive mood - we weren't disappointed.
For those who don't know, Questors is run on a purely voluntary basis, and, (loathe as I am to use the term) is an amateur theatre. However there was little evidence of any novices in this fine production ably directed by Mark Fitzgerald.
Whilst Richard Gallagher must be applauded for his excellent Victor Meldrew portrayal of Scrooge, a few other names to mention include Derek Stoddart who played a moving Bob Cratchit, Charlie Wild as a very cheery Fred (Scrooge's Nephew) and Robert Baker-Glenn who showed his versatility in a multitude of roles.
But the whole cast are key in this fine ensemble production and should also take credit.
Many of them are involved in narration, acting, singing and dancing and manage to move through the various complicated scenes seamlessly - helped by the excellent Questors choir - an inspired idea for scene changes.
The costumes were magnificent and a major reason why the production felt just right. Traditional Victorian bonnets and bustles always make me feel festive.
Whilst in this gushing mood I must also add a special word of praise for the children in the cast (70 in total). They looked fabulous and kept their concentration throughout, quite a task when you are only seven or eight.
Adapted by John Mortimer the stage production remains faithful to the language of the time (1843) and Dickens in particular, so may prove more challenging for younger members of the audience. This wasn't the case for my 'grown- up' 10 year old. She really enjoyed it and particularly liked the various theatrical effects and ghosts which she described as 'freaky'.
On the slightly less positive side - because it was a source of irritation for me (and a few other audience members) is the sound quality in the theatre. Whilst the men's voices could be heard loud and clear, the women and children were just too soft. This really needs sorting out as there is nothing more annoying and distracting than having to strain to hear important lines.
Gripe aside my overall opinion and that of the daughter was very positive.
Questors never fail to produce a marvellous Christmas show and this epic redemption story has done it for them once more.
Don't be a Scrooge - go and enjoy it whilst you can - various shows until January 2nd!
Have you seen it yet? What do you think?
Do you have a favourite version of 'A Christmas Carol?'
December 16th, 2009