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    Tags: A_Christmas_Carol, Spymonkey_Comedy, Liverpool_Playhouse, Toby_Parks, Petra_Massey, Sophie_Russell, Aitor_Basauri, Sarah_O'Hara

    A Christmas Carol delights audiences at the Liverpool Playhouse

    Photograph by Johann Persson

     

    Imagine the scene. It’s Christmas Eve - Ebenezer Scrooge is being visited by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. He sees the ghost of Christmas Present, adorned in a green robe and gliding into the room on a hoverboard…

     

    A hoverboard I hear you say? Really?

     

    Yes - This is A Christmas Carol - but not quite as you know it.

     

    Spymonkey’s uniquely hilarious twist on a classic is five star festive fun. Just when you thought you’d seen every interpretation of A Christmas Carol, Spymonkey came in and produced what could be the most brilliant production of the story yet.

     

    Taking on a variety of roles, the multi-talented cast combine vaudeville, physical comedy, musical numbers and post-modern references in a show that you will be talking about for weeks to come - if not years to come.

     

    Toby Park’s Scrooge is dryly witty - retaining the classic ‘bah-humbug’ interpretation of the character from the novel, while moving in and out of character to provide humorous commentary on elements of the production, such as the performance of the Ghost of Christmas Past. His reactions to Bob Cratchitt’s assistance moving to and from his desk was highly amusing; every glance and roll of the eyes utilised to hilarious effect. Toby Park’s Scrooge is one of my favourite interpretations of the character and he was a delight to watch throughout.

     

    Playing his clerk Bob Cratchitt and many other characters was the incredible Sophie Russell. Her singing is spectacular; the opening number in the first act showing the powerful range in her voice. Her ability to remain serious while singing witty lyrics was a testament to her brilliant musical theatre performance and also heightened the humour in the song. 

     

    Joining them was the phenomenal Petra Massey who stole the show with her surreally wonderful performances. From ice skating with household appliances to a ghost of Christmas Past with an ambition for acting greatness, she had the audience in non-stop laughter every moment she was onstage. 

     

    The final piece of this quartet was the wonderful Aitor Basauri. Playing the writer Charles Dickens, his interactions with the audience were reminiscent of vaudeville performances. His combination of magician, comedian and narrator as Dickens had you excited as soon as the show began. Bazaar’s presence onstage felt magical; as if he was opening a physical door into the story. He made you feel a part of the production and I was crying with laughter within minutes.

     

    The entire production is excellently crafted. The scene changes are slick; the lighting adding atmosphere to tenser moments of the story, while also providing incredible illusions to the production. 

     

    The use of wigs as props was comedy gold in the Cratchitt household scenes, while the quick costume changes enabled the cast to quickly and effectively change from one character to another. You were often left wondering how they entered onto stage so quickly as one character, when they’d only just left the stage as another. That was the magic of the show. Spymonkey’s productions are works of genius and once you have seen one, you will want to see more of their shows.

     

    I haven’t revealed much about the jokes or the show, because I don’t want to spoil it’s comic magic for you. All that is to be said is that this is a must see show - a wonderfully witty and superbly surreal production that will have you cheering for more.

     

     

    5 stars

     

     

    By Sarah O' Hara

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