Back by popular demand, The Court Theatre’s joyful comedy adaptation of A Christmas Carol is returning for more festive fun following two sold-out seasons.
Held at The Court’s studio theatre, The Forge at The Court Theatre, this redemptive comedy is “the Christmas story that people love told in a fun, interactive way,” says writer Dan Bain.
Adapted from Charles Dicken’s classic festive tale, A Christmas Carol follows miserly Ebenezer Scrooge as he is visited by the ghosts of Christmas who try to encourage him to be a more generous man in the spirit of Christmas.
“Dickens touches something in people over and above the material. A Christmas Carol is, arguably, his most well-known story because there's something about the story of redemption which just doesn't go away,” says director Ross Gumbley.
In Bain’s adaptation, two actors and a musician present Dickens’ iconic story, with keen audience members used to round out the cast, playing characters such as the Ghost of Christmas past and members of the Cratchit family.
“The wonderful thing about Dan Bain's script is that he puts this show in the hands of the audience. We have two actors presenting the show, but we use audience members to play the rest of the characters,” Gumbley says.
For those nervous about being pulled up on stage, he’s quick to reassure that there’s nothing to be worried about.
“Our philosophy anytime we involve an audience member is we make them the hero and treat them with respect. We take the fall - we have the joke on us, not on the participant. Nobody’s made a fool of.”
Gumbley, who is also The Court’s Artistic Director, is taking on the directorial reigns as Bain steps down after two years in charge of the production.
“I assume he's very nervous about directing such a prestigious piece of work with such a long and storied track-record of excellence, but I'm sure he'll give it his best,” Bain says cheekily.
Due to the interactivity of the show, no two sessions of A Christmas Carol will ever truly be the same and this year will be markedly different with the casting of a brand-new Scrooge, played by Gregory Cooper.
Cooper, a former Court Jester, who was recently seen in Roger Hall’s Easy Money and co-wrote That Bloody Woman, is joining co-star Kathleen Burns and musician Tom Harris for this Christmas production.
“I can’t wait to see him onstage,” Gumbley says. “His Scrooge, I know, will just unleash.”
Burns, who is returning for the third time for her role in the show, is a regular performer in Scared Scriptless and was most recently seen at The Court in improv comedy production The Early Early Late Show.
For her, the broad appeal of A Christmas Carol is what makes it so exciting.
“There aren't many shows where you can have a corporate group having their Christmas do sitting right next to grandparents with their grandchildren, all having a magical time together in the same room. It's hilarious and beautiful.”
Tom Harris’ music adds to the magic, with Bain putting him to work in more ways than one.
“I always give Tom some lines... I mean, there’s someone on side of the stage, I may as well get them to do some work!”
Bain has revisited his script for this production, writing brand-new jokes to entertain new and returning audiences alike.
For Burns, A Christmas Carol is the perfect way to get yourself into the spirit – and remember what Christmas is all about.
“Like many, I lost that special magical Christmas feeling on becoming an adult... But this show brings all the happy Christmas feelings right back!”
Gumbley thinks the show is a great way to celebrate the end of the year – whether you’re counting down the days ‘till the 25th or see yourself as more of a Scrooge.
“A Christmas Carol is for anybody who wants to come and have a good time at the end of the year.”