A Christmas Carol at Park Street Performing Arts Centre

The delightful adaptation of arguably the best Christmas story has landed at Park Street Arts Centre.

This magical musical adaptation has all the Christmas heartwarming you could ever wish for, while staying loyal in parts to the classic Charles Dickens story, but gives a real treatment, with a different type of fun.

The constraints of quite a small stage are cast aside in thrilling style as the skillfully constructed set is used to its full advantage.

The masterful Richard Green plays the part of the old miser Ebenezer Scrooge with genuine aplomb, and his direction of the whole piece is a joy to behold.

Callum Mathers is also in top form as the downtrodden Bob Cratchit, and the whole cast communicate a real sense of togetherness throughout the very character driven show.

Gina Garton is very strong at setting certain scenes for the audience, and the scenes between her and character and Scrooge are genuine dynamite.

It’s a well known saying in theatre that you should ‘Never work with children’ but the supremely talented bunch in this gutsy production discard that saying with a real swagger and ability that looks boundless.

The musical numbers are scattered through the feast before your eyes, all perfectly timed and moving the story along beautifully, with a great dollop of realism.

With several actors and actresses playing more than one part, it would be easy for them to get a bit lost, but that doesn’t happen here, it all moves along almost serenely.

Keiran Danby is very genuinely scary as Jacob Marley, and the use of atmospheric smoke and the right choice of background sound, provides a tremendously eerie experience when it’s required.

The alternate scenes that have been inserted into the script are also masterfully handled.

Speaking to Richard Green afterwards, he said: “I think A Christmas Carol is one of those plays, that really sum up Christmas, it’s got such a good moral behind it.”

Speaking about playing the lead, and directing it as well: “It is a challenge definitely, especially when I’m standing on the stage, seeing what’s going on.

“Obviously I’m not supposed to be seen by them, so I can’t intervene, I just have to stand and watch.

“Apart from directing it, I’m also playing the lead, and it’s a very big part so it’s a lot to learn, sustaining the character, that’s quite a hard job.”

Callum Mathers also spoke to me about playing Bob Cratchit: “It’s a bit of a character role, he’s a family man, which is something new for me. Also a bit of a cockney accent is a challenge but it’s nice to try that.”

Being on stage with the director quite a lot actually brings some comfort: “It’s pretty comfortable actually sometimes.

“He’s been acting for many years, and directing shows, that gives you confidence in him, that if something does go wrong, you can work together with him and bring it through.”

Being on stage with several children: “It’s stressful at times, but it’s great fun because they’re so full of energy… You’re sort of mentoring them, helping them through it.”

Turning A Christmas Carol into something of a musical has its advantages: “It’s maybe a bit of a gamble, I think it brings a bit more enjoyment as well.

“I haven’t really done a lot of play work, musicals are mainly my thing, so I feel a bit more at home doing musicals, but I think it is a bit of a gamble.

“But I think the audience get a bit more enjoyment out of it, with a few songs in there, you maybe get them to join in a little bit.”

Tickets are still available for the performances which run all week, up to and including Christmas Eve afternoon, although there are only EIGHT tickets left available for the Christmas Eve showing.

Tickets can be booked over the phone on 01482 222452, priced at £6-£8.

Go and see it, you’ll love it to bits.