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A Christmas Carol jollity coming soon to Theatre by the Lake

The ensemble with Musical Director Richard Reeday. Photo by Robert Day

Everyone’s favourite Christmas story, A Christmas Carol, is set to delight families this festive season when it plays at Theatre by the Lake from 22 November to 11 January. With the cast well into their rehearsals in Keswick, the countdown to Christmas has begun.

It’s Christmas Eve. Cold-hearted businessman Ebenezer Scrooge grows grumpier and meaner than ever as Christmas Day approaches. When a ghostly apparition appears at his bedside, he’s whisked away on a startling journey to uncover the true meaning of Christmas.

Enjoy one of the best-loved stories ever written in Dickens’ tale of redemption and compassion; a tonic to warm the cockles of your heart this winter.

This high-spirited and joyful version is by Patrick Barlow, well known to TBTL’s audiences as the adapter of hit 2015 production The 39 Steps. It features dance, singing and live music, arranged and composed by Richard Reeday and including some festive favourites, as well as puppetry from Matt Hutchinson and an enchanting set from designer Hannah Wolfe.

Barlow’s version was first produced in London’s West End in 2015, with Jim Broadbent playing Scrooge. TBTL’s production is directed by Gemma Fairlie and boasts a cast of five actors: Pete Ashmore, Sally Cheng, Max Gallagher, Darren Lawrence and Claire Storey. Darren Lawrence plays Scrooge with the rest of the cast performing a multitude of characters, as well as playing a variety of instruments. Of the cast only Sally Cheng has performed at Theatre by the Lake previously, in 2016’s Christmas show The Emperor and the Nightingale.

Director Gemma Fairlie said: “A Christmas Carol is such an iconic story. I don’t remember how I learnt the story but it feels like I’ve known it all my life. The original tale of Christmas cheer.

“So there is a bit of pressure felt when I step into rehearsals in Keswick! However, that worry quickly dissolves into laughter and a warm Christmassy glow as I hear the actors reading Patrick Barlow’s version. It is genuinely very funny, and the actors are having a blast. There’s only five of them and they play everyone, from all three ghosts to the five Cratchit children to random passer bys. They are also doing puppetry, playing a range of instruments and singing beautiful harmonies for all the carols. It’s going to be a busy show.

“But what really strikes you about this version is the heart. Patrick has found a wonderful way into telling the story through the ensemble, and helping us understand why Scrooge has turned so mean. We hate him at first but by the end we really care. It’s such an incredible story of learning to love again, and it feels like it’s just the antidote we need to cold nights and dark days. I can’t wait to share the Christmas joy!”.

To book tickets for A Christmas Carol or to find out more visit www.theatrebythelake.com or call the Box Office on 017687 74411. Tickets are already selling fast, so booking soon is recommended. At Theatre by the Lake from 22 November to 11 January, tickets from £10.

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