REVIEW: Scrooge by Richmond Operatic Society

Last night saw the opening night of Richmond Operatic Society’s autumn performance of Scrooge, a delightful musical adaptation of Charles Dickens classic novel A Christmas Carol, based on the 1970s musical film Scrooge.

As a child I picked up a few snippets of a film my parents were watching. I did not know what the story was about, but I have never forgotten the hauntingly beautiful song Happiness. The catchy tune of Thank you very much also lodged itself in my memory.

I now know that the songs from my memory were from this highly acclaimed film starring Albert Finney. The musical stage production premiered on stage in 1992 and featured all the well loved songs from the film.

The ROC gave a sparkling and joyful performance with some very fine soloists and an enthusiastic chorus setting the scenes .

The show started with a gaily dressed crowd of all ages flocking onto the stage to perform the opening song A Christmas Carol. I was amazed at the sheer number of actors in this production.

It is good to see that music and amateur dramatics is very much alive in Richmond and that young and old get the opportunity to create some magic together.

Don Cockett put down a very genteel Ebenezer Scrooge. But don’t be mistaken, that didn’t make him any less menacing. His songs were received with a rapturous applause.

John Holliday as Tom Jenkings stirred up the crowd showing their contempt for Scrooge in mocking gratitude in the rousing song ‘Thank you very much’.

The old miser’s heart and everyone’s in the audience was filled with melancholy after Natasha Aspden’s beautiful rendition of Happiness, when Scrooge’s long lost love Isabel tells him that Happiness is whatever you want it to be..

Like I said before, the crowd scenes were particularly good because of the sheer number of very good voices. There was a cast of thirty people on the Georgian’s tiny stage. Some stalwarts who have taken part in many productions and some fresh new faces. There are many roles for children in this musical and they were all delightful, but I would like to mention in particular Tilly Roper and India Hindmarsh for their lovely performances of Kathy and Martha Cratchit.

The three ghosts of Christmas Past, Future and Present, as well as Jacob Marley created the right nightmarish scene of horror, dread and remorse. And at the start of the new day there was hope and gratefulness for a new life. I like life

The director Lou Holliday has welcomed the talented musicians Lindsay and Nick Ibbotson, respectively as Musical Director and Musical Associate/Accompanist. They are thrilled to have these versatile and experienced musicians as part of the ROS team.

The musical Scrooge promises a lively and entertaining evening for all the family, with brilliant songs ,sure to get you in the Christmas spirit.

As Ebenezer Scrooge proves to us, a lot can happen in one night.

As a miser he starts the evening saying: “If I could work my will, every idiot who goes about with Merry Christmas on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through the heart.”

The next morning a redeemed man vows: “I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”

There are three more opportunities to see the performance at the Georgian Theatre Royal:

  • Thursday 16 November 7.30pm
  • Friday 17 November 7.30pm
  • Saturday 18 November 7.30 pm