The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre.
December 18, 19 [17.00hrs], 20, 21 & 22, 1999.
A Christmas Carol
by Charles Dickens
David Goodger – Ebenezer Scrooge
Bob Ryder – Bob Cratchit
Kevin Isaac – Fred [Scrooge’s nephew]
Peter Thompson – Portly Gentleman 
John Barham – Portly Gentleman 
David Creedon – Marley’s Ghost
Judith Berrill – Ghost of Christmas Past
Tom Cullen – Scrooge, as a boy
Jane Richards – Belle
John Garland – Scrooge, as a young man
Helen Armes – Fran
Peter Winstone – Dick Wilkins
Ralph Dawes – Mr. Fezziwig
Joan Bearman – Mrs. Fezziwig
Laura Isaac – Lotty Fezziwig
John Barham – Ghost of Christmas Present
Margaret Pierce – Mrs. Cratchit
Stuart Isaac – Peter Cratchit
Liz Nowak – Belinda Cratchit
Becky Hodge – Martha Cratchit
Christopher Brownings – Tiny Tim
Julie le Manquais – Agnes [Fed’s wife]
Jane Richards – Maude [her sister]
John Garland – Topper
Margaret Ockenden – Old Meg
Diane Robinson – Charwoman
Rosemary Bouchy – Laundress
David Creedon – Undertaker’s Man
Judith Berrill – Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come
David Brownings – Beggar Boy / Ignorance
Annette Thompson – Beggar Girl / Want
Tom Cullen – Young Boy
Mark Flower – Businessman
Ralph Dawes – Businessman
Peter Winstone – Businessman
Peter Thompson – Businessman
Derek Fraser – Carol Singer
Nick Ryder – Carol Singer
Jane Richards – Bell Ringer
Joan Bearman – Bell Ringer
Ralph Dawes – City Folk
Rosemary Bouchy – City Folk
Julie Le Manquais – Party Guest
Lynda Mostyn – Party Guest
Valerie Bray – Party Guest
Musical Director – Kati Szeless
Stage Manager – David Comber
ASM – Olive Smith
ASM – Marc Lewis
ASM – Dave Collis
Lighting – Mike Medway
Lighting – Simon Snelling
Set Construction – David Comber
Set Construction – Dave Collis
Set Construction – Brian Box
Set Construction – Mike Davy
Set Construction – Marc Lewis
Set Painting – Frances Thorne
Set Painting – Sheila Neesham
Properties – Sue Whittaker
Properties – Margaret Davy
Costumes – Frances Moulton
Press & Publicity – Rosemary Bouchy
Press & Publicity – Frances Thorne
Press & Publicity – Rosemary Brown
Design, Graphics & Photography – Judith Berrill
Assistant to the Director – Betty Dawes
Box Office – Margaret Murrell
Front of House Manager – Davis Pierce
Front of House Manager – Brian Moulton
Programme Note #1: A Christmas Carol
TB wrote “Charles Dickens was just 31 when he wrote A Christmas Carol, though already he had enjoyed huge popular success with ‘The Pickwick Papers’, ‘Oliver Twist’, ‘Nicholas Nickleby’ and ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’. He began writing it in October 1843 and had it on sale in the bookshops the week before Christmas – about the same length of time we have taken to rehearse this new adaptation for the stage!
Dickens actually wrote A Christmas Carol while working hard to produce the monthly episodes of ‘Martin Chuzzlewit’ for his magazine readership. He once described how, in that busy autumn of 1843, he would walk the streets and alley-ways of London in the middle of the night, with his mind racing about the chapters he would write the following day.
What drove him to work so furiously on the book? To begin with, he felt driven to attacks social injustice of child poverty and exploitation. Just before he began the Carol, he had lectured in Manchester on the perils of ‘Want’ and ‘Ignorance’, which he then brought so vividly to life in the book. But he was also driven to show the power of redemption – the chance to confront past memories and present truths, and to build a better future. Through Scrooge, Dickens invites us all to embrace the universal values of friendship, family and the generosity of the human spirit.
I set about this new adaptation for the stage because I felt that many earlier versions had strayed a long way from the mood which Charles Dickens created, either watering down his tone or making it more sentimental than he intended. By going back very closely to the dialogue which he wrote for his characters, I hope that we are now presenting a play which is much more faithful to the spirit of the book.
It has been enormous fun working with the large team of Wick members [and their children!] who have come together to create this production. A Christmas Carol is not only a cracking good story, it should be a heart-warming, uplifting experience as well. So we hoe that you enjoy this production and feel its cheer spreading into the festivities ahead.
A very merry Christmas to you all!”
Publicity #1: A Christmas Carol
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: December 9 1999 issue – page 5
Text Header: “Seasonal feel-good offering”
THE WICK Theatre Company is offering a traditional treat with its production of A Christmas Carol, which runs from December 18 to 22 at the Barn Theatre, Southwick. Performances are at 7.45pm [5pm on December 19].
Director Tony Brownings has written his own adaptation, ensuring it is as close as possible to the original Charles Dickens. Members of the audience will be welcomed by a warm, festive atmosphere.
The well-loved story of Scrooge and his spooky experiences provides pathos, fun and that feel-good factor to put the whole family on the right mood for the festive season.
The cast includes an assembly of skilled Barn regulars, with David Goodger playing Scrooge, Bob Ryder as Bob Cratchit, David Creedon as Marley’s Ghost and Kevin Isaac playing Scrooge’s nephew. The Ghost of Christmas Present is portrayed by John Barham and Christopher Brownings will make his Barn debut as Tiny Tim.
Tickets cost £4.50 and £5.50 or £3 for children. They are available from the Barn box office  597094.
Review #1: A Christmas Carol
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: December 30 1999 issue – page 10
Reviewer: – Stephen Critchett
Text Header: “Audience warms to old Ebenezer”
A SELL-OUT audience at Southwick’s Barn Theatre enjoyed a traditional treat with a spellbinding production of A Christmas Carol, courtesy of the Wick Theatre Company. The stunning performance of the Dicken’s classic left the assembled throng – including any would-be Ebenezer Scrooges – full of festive cheer and showering the cast with deserved rapturous applause following this flawless production. The well-loved story of Scrooge and his spooky experiences provided pathos, fun and a feel-good factor which puts the 100-onlookers in the mood for the festival season.
Director Tony Brownings wrote his own adaptation of Carol, ensuring it was as close as possible, to the original novel.
Many memorable individual performances lit up the stage, but none more so than Scrooge himself, played to a miserable tee by barn [sic] regular David Goodger. His portrayal of the stingy Scrooge was utterly convincing and was both amusing and moving. The warm Victorian Christmas ambience was assured thanks to carol singers and impressive renditions of handbell ringers. Bob Ryder shone as Bob Cratchit, as did Scrooge’s nephew Fred [Kevin Isaac], with the various phantoms sending shudders around the audience.
The impressive set, costumes and lighting combined to make the production one few onlookers will forget.
Review #2: A Christmas Carol
Publication: Wick News
Publication Data: January 2000
Reviewer: George Porter
This adaptation of Dickens’ early work, with its Victorian tendency to go over the top, is a praiseworthy condensing of the famous story to the core of the message of peace and goodwill at Christmas time.
When the National Theatre presented the story two or three years ago they peopled the stage with bankers, tradesmen and half the population of London’s East End. Tony Brownings’ production was quite beautifully adapted to the Barn Hall stage and the setting gave us a montage which had depth and interest, particularly with its trompe l’oeil effect of a sleeping city in winter. The whole decor and costuming fitted into this austere view of a cold, hard time particularly for the Cratchits of the Victorian world.
The play in Tony Brownings’ adaptation concentrated on the essence of the story of the Cratchit family, saved from squalor by a Scrooge redeemed through the visions of his ghastly life past, present and future. The key to the impressive tone of this production was to restrain the over sentimentality that could come out of the situation and to present a Breughel type narration – something detailed and moving but not sloppy.
The costuming was excellent – in keeping with the grey tones of a cold winter city scene. It really seemed like winter and the use of a most talented group of carol singers to set the scene with a delightful choice of ‘Coventry’ type carols sung ‘acapello’ led by Kati Szeless, was most fitting.
The play was not long but with its strong story and concise ordering by the Director, the whole play came over as a satisfying work of art in which the austerities of minimal props and mime really paid off. One might have wanted more carols, more embellishments, but on reflection it might have diluted the impact of the present work of art. Having commented on how apt the carol singing was, one ought not to forget the admirable duet sung by Scrooge’s nephew’s wife and her sister, Julie Le Manquais and Jane Richards.
The cast list is long and should be regarded as a general ensemble completing a pattern. However the central part of Scrooge was great achievement by David Goodger – from harsh skinflint to transformed sugar uncle – a truly great performance. The same quality of acting encompassed the ghosts haunting Scrooge – David Creedon was a most striking Marley, as lucid as ever, and with some excellent light and sound effects. Judith Berrill as the ghost of ‘Christmas yet to come’ was a compelling figure dominating the higher areas of the montage and John Barham as the dominating ‘ghost of Christmas present’ was impressive in bulk and voice. The impact of the ghost scenes was a controlled tour de force by the four main characters.
All the Cratchit family were so authentic in their lowly abode – Bob Ryder, Margaret Pierce and Christopher Brownings as Tiny Tim were delightfully in the picture and their miming with other family members so aptly part of the whole picture.
The presentation of such a teeming slice of London life with some forty named parts doesn’t permit naming all, as this is a team effort, and a few cameos by experienced performers can only just be mentioned in scanning the cast list – Margaret Ockenden, Kevin Isaac, John Garland and Rosemary Bouchy were all beautifully part of the whole picture. Last but not least was excellent lighting and sound by Mike Medway and Simon Snelling. Congratulations too to Tony Brownings and the large team which gave us a memorable evening – and even called up snow!
A final note – Front of House, backstage staff and set constructors are a special part of the team and a big thanks to them too.