A Christmas Carol
The Ark, Temple Bar, Dublin Dec 1 4pm, Dec 8/15/22 2pm/4pm €10/€8 ark.ie
Two hundred years after he was born and almost 170 years since he wrote it, Charles Dickens’s beloved seasonal tale is still making money. That’s as the author would have wished, having devised the story of the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge largely for the cash. But even a potboiler can have a heart, as Dickens discovered: he later confessed that he laughed and cried over it more than any of his other novels.
Such reliable cheer and good box office are two reasons why stage adaptations of A Christmas Carol are as inevitable this time of year as turkey comatosis. Like Scrooge, we can expect several visitations. What’s interesting, though, is how economical those spirits seem.
British stage veteran Clive Francis is currently touring his one-man version around the country, inspired by Dickens’s own public readings, while the performers Aaron Monaghan and Bryan Burroughs (above) extend to a two-man version for a spryly physical take on the classic for the Ark’s young audiences. Between them they play the “grasping old sinner” Scrooge, the cheerful ghosts and warning spectres, and effect his transition from bah-humbugger to merry shilling-dispenser.
The story may be infinitely familiar, but there will always be new ways to tell it, ensuring a fixture of our Christmases past, present and yet to come.
Can't see that? Catch this:The Incredible Book-Eating Boy, The MAC, Belfast