A Christmas Carol – 2016

Bah, Humbug?   

Upstairs at London’s Grand Theatre, the Wizard of Oz is a humbug.  Downstairs in the McManus Studio Theatre, we can hear Scrooge saying “Bah, humbug” but his alter-ego, Rod Beattie is not a humbug.  Beattie is the real deal when it comes to acting all the roles in the classic A Christmas Carol.

You know Beattie from his Wingfield series, where he not only plays the main character, city fellow turned farmer, but also all the other characters in the shows. There are at least seven Wingfield plays, hilarious comedies penned by Dan Needles. These plays honed Beattie’s skills in portraying several characters at the same time, even carrying on conversations between several different characters. Beattie can switch up an accent, change the timbre and tone of his voice, curl a lip or raise an eyebrow, and become a completely different person, male or female, young or old.

He’s brought that acting talent to the Christmas story, adapting the old Dickens novel and making it a perfect one-man show. You have to admire Beattie’s stamina – he performs for a full 65 minutes with no back-stage breaks. Rod Beattie

It’s the Dicken’s story we all know – Old Scrooge doesn’t want to give his clerk Bob Cratchit a day off for Christmas, and he certainly won’t give him another lump of coal to warm up the office.  That night, the ghost of Scrooge’s long dead business partner, Marley, shows up to tell Scrooge he will be haunted three times.   The ghosts show Scrooge the past, present and future and (spoiler alert!) change his miserly ways, making him giddy with Christmas excitement.

Beattie not only takes us along on Scrooge’s journey, he shows us the reactions of all who encounter Scrooge, and acts as the narrator/story teller, too.  Every character has a different mannerism or walk.   Beattie’s adaptation makes the most of the humour in Dickens’ tale – for example, Mrs. Cratchit’s toast to Scrooge is hilarious.  He also tugs the heartstrings with the predicted sad fate of Tiny Tim.  Then Beattie has great fun with Scrooge’s conversion and his pure joy in buying the big prize turkey.

If you’re a fan of Beattie’s Wingfield, you will love his Christmas Carol.  After having been involved with readings of A Christmas Carol, Rod Beattie is now giving us a wonderful Christmas gift in his presentation of this old story.

A Christmas Carol continues at the Grand – McManus Studio Theatre, London until December 24.  Tickets are available at the Grand box office at 672-8800 or 1-800-265-1593 or visit www.grandtheatre.com.

A Christmas Carol
By Charles Dickens
Adapted, Directed and Performed by Rod Beattie
Stage Manager Douglas Beattie
Grand Theatre – McManus Studio Theatre, London
December 13 to 24, 2016
Reviewed by Mary Alderson


Sign up here if you would like to receive notice when news, reviews, and musings are posted. You can unsubscribe at any time.