Theatre Review: A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol

Adapted from Charles Dickens’ novel by Melissa Lee Speyer

Director/Producer Michael Dean

Kings Cross Theatre

Photo by Omnes

Review by Ron Lee, CSP

It’s reassuring to know that small theatre companies in Sydney are producing quality work. Lies, Lies and Propaganda, in association with bAKEHOUSE Theatre Co., are staging a contemporised version of A Christmas Carol from the original novel by Charles Dickens.

It’s also refreshing to attend a non-racially and non-gender-specific piece of theatre. This time, Ebenezer Scrooge is played a young woman and Tiny Tim has a mental issue rather than a physical impairment and is portrayed by a female.

Back in the old days of Hollywood, a caucasian American actor and a Swedish actor were cast as Charlie Chan and Bruce Lee created the Kung Fu television series to star himself but the American producers claimed that he looked too Asian to play a Chinese character and they cast an Irish-American. In this production, Bob Cratchit is played by an Asian actress. Excellent.

Scrooge enters in Dickensian garb and the other cast members are in white-face and wear heavily shadowed eye make-up. It looked like we were in for “Scrooge versus The Zombies”.

In Melissa Lee Speyer’s paraphrased version, the Cratchits are a bogan family and Fred’s Christmas dinner is filled with politically-correct Bollinger bolshies. There are mentions of the deficit, same-sex marriage and Donald Trump.

Guided by Michael Dean’s passionate direction, the cast of Aslam Abdus-samad, Dymphna Carew, Bobbie-Jean Henning, Jacqueline Marriott, Monica Sayers, Bishanyia Vincent and Michael Yore, along with Miles Elkington’s eclectic musical complement, bring to the pub theatre an interesting, quirky and innovative experience.

Off, off-Broadway styles of productions provide a pleasing balance to mainstream Sydney theatre, and demonstrate that pantomimes aren’t the only theatrical medium in which gender doesn’t play a part in the casting process.

If you crave adventurous, alternative theatre, have a look at A Christmas Carol at the Kings Cross Theatre. You’ll find it on top of the pub.


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