Book, Music and Lyrics by Leslie Bricusse
based on A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham 9 November, 1992 - (99 perfs)
Picture: Anthony Newley as "Scrooge"
The story opens on Christmas Eve, 1860, in Cheapside, London, where the chill air is alive with the sound of carols coming from the churches. Ebenezer Scrooge, however, thinks nothing of Christmas. He is the surviving partner of Scrooge and Marley, private merchant bankers and moneylenders. His clerk, Bob Cratchit, overworked and underpaid has a hard time asking for time off, with pay, for Christmas. Ebenezer does not like this time of year and turns down invitations to a family gathering from his nephew, Harry, and is not at all charitable to the representatives of a charity for the poor.
Even though it is holiday time, Scrooge continues to collect debts owing from unfortunate souls who could do with extra money at this time of year.
Bob Cratchit is the complete opposite and goes shopping with his family optimistically celebrating the season of goodwill. Back at his home, Scrooge is sipping soup when the ghost of his dead partner, Jacob Marley appears. He is a pitiful figure hung about with chains. He says that each link is a manifestation of those he forged in life. Marley takes Scrooge on a trip to show him all those souls who are chained and fettered according to their misspent lives. Before returning Ebenezer back to his home Marley warns Scrooge that he will receive visitations from three more spirits who will attempt to show him the errors of his ways. There will still be time to change.
Scrooge is first visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past, a rather dignified old lady. She takes him on a trip from his childhood to the time when he, as a young man, fell in love with his employer's daughter, Isabel Fezziwig. His second visitation is from the Ghost of Christmas Present who whisks Ebenezer off into the night to witness the plight of the Cratchit Family in their humble home. Scrooge is moved by the plight of Tiny Tim and the supreme optimism with which the sick young boy views life. He is then taken to witness what joy he is missing at the home of his nephew and family. Scrooge is moved by the low regard in which he is held in people's estimation.
The Ghost of Christmas Yet-to-Come is the most terrible apparition yet and he reveals to Scrooge his own death and that of the pathetic Tiny Tim. Ebenezer sees his debtors dancing on his coffin and stealing all his possessions in celebration of his death. He then sees himself in Hell and for his sins, burdened down with heavy chains.
Back home, early on Christmas morning, Ebenezer vows to start his life afresh. He dresses up as Father Christmas and visits the Cratchits with presents and the promise to pay the medical expenses for Tiny Tim's treatment. He then returns home to dress for the celebrations at the home of his nephew.