The Barony Players couldn’t have made a better selection for their 60th anniversary production than Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
It’s a tale we all know; a tale that this year, with ever increasing mentions of food banks, fuel poverty and people who’re struggling, cuts that little bit closer to the bone.
Jeff Adams opened the show as Dickens, narrating the story from a chair at the foot of the stage. He didn’t falter once – even when a problem with a scene change-over in the first act led to an awkward pause in the performance, the audience whispering speculatively at the empty stage.
As far as setting the scene is concerned, the set design and costume teams deserve enormous credit for the degree of creativity and resourcefulness shown in portraying a characteristically grim, Dickensian London.
Willie Cunningham took the lead role as bitter miser Ebenezer Scrooge, delivering his “humbugs” with panache, even if his accent was a little perplexing at times.
The turning point of the story comes as Scrooge gets an unexpected visit from his dead colleague, Jacob Marley, who warns him to change his stingy ways or be forever condemned.
Graeme Angus made the most of his short time on the stage as Marley, delivering a genuinely scary performance.
Scrooge’s journey through Christmas past, present and future, was very well done, largely due to Willie’s ability to portray all the necessary emotions – from grumpiness and scepticism, to terror and, finally, empathy and elation.
Special mention goes to the Cratchit family who pulled off a couple of heart-warming scenes; the meagre, yet joyful, Christmas dinner and their show of resilience in the aftermath of Tiny Tim’s ‘death’.
Young Christopher Carson made an adorable Tiny Tim and really won over the audience during his solo of Away in a Manger.
All-in-all it was a successful evening for the Barony Players which gave everybody the Christmas buzz.
Freelance photographer Alistair Pryde was on hand to capture all the action for the Journal and Gazette and his pictures are featured in our slideshow, created for your viewing pleasure by acting editor Julie Currie.