Cratchit ★★★★ Park Theatre | Dec 7, 2021 - Jan 8, 2022


How many times have you seen A Christmas Carol? Ever wondered how Bob Cratchit saw his situation? This innovative show brings a new perspective to Dickens' seasonal story and offers a darker view of the obsequious clerk who suffered from Scrooge's wrath and parsimony. Bob comes to represent all of the poor in Victorian England and their plight at the hands of unscrupulous employers. Desperation and lack of options drive this version of the downtrodden accounts keeper to drink, failed swindles and possible suicide. Alexander Knott has written a chilling and thoughtful piece which has the ring of a Victorian novel. His use of language is quite remarkable and both the characters' syntax and expression ring true to the period. Indeed, there are no pesky neologisms here to distract from the cadences of Cratchit's powerful disquisition, and John Dagleish, as Scrooge's browbeaten employee, does a masterful job of delivering these speeches. He is never off stage and he never loses his audience's attention. He creates a character that is sympathetic and believable, and he seamlessly becomes a terrifying Scrooge and Marley. He is ably supported in this terrific performance by Freya Sharp who plays Martha Cratchit and other various characters. In the course of the evening, we learn that Scrooge is not alone in being haunted by ghosts who act as harbingers of the future, and Knott brings a new depth of meaning to this oft-told seasonal tale with Bob's gloomy previsions. This is certainly not your usual cosy Christmas carol, but between them Knott and Dagleish have created an unforgettable theatrical moment.

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Charles Flint Photography.

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