Starting on Thursday evening, Pirates Productions in Luxembourg are putting on a 5-performance run of a stage production of "Scrooge! the Musical" at the Kinneksbond cultural centre in Mamer.
Set in 1843 in Camden, London, Scrooge! is a musical version of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol with music and lyrics by Leslie Briccusse. Chronicle.lu got the opportunity to sit in on the dress rehearsal...
The performance opens with almost 40 townsfolk on stage, all adorned in Dikensian costume, in front of an impressive illuminated backdrop and perforing a medley of traditional carols,
to set the scene. Already, the tone is set for a marvellous musical treat, in no small way thanks to young Cathy Cratchit's wonderful solo voice.
With the illuminated backdrop being used to continued great effect in the next scene, set in Scrooge's office on Christmas Eve, with Bob Cratchett (woderfully played and sung by Neil Johnson) slaving away and him grumbling about Christmas and the carol singers outside. Brian Parker plays a very convincing Scrooge who is paid a visit by his nephew who invites him for dinner on Christmas Day.
The acoustics in the theatre are one of the best attributes of the Kinneksbond, and they augment the orchestra located in the pit in front of the stage, hidden away from sight but certainly very audible to all in the audience.
Timothy Cratchit (Tiny Tim) makes his appearance in the next scene, outside on a market street among the stalls of fruit, vegetables and bread, along with his sister Cathy and father Bob - all three have wonderful voices which bring them to the forefront of the scene, thanks in no small part to the harmony of the chorus. After all, this is a musical...
Punch and Judy - more reminiscent of a seaside town's pier attraction - makes an appearance in the market on Christmas Eve, entertaining the children while Ebeneezer Scrooge continues his nefarious moneylending activities.
With dialogue used to pull the storyline along, many Dickensian references are included, such as workhouses, etc.
The appearance of Jacob Marley's ghost is very cleverly achieved and sets Scrooge off doubting himself and wondering how he is hearing voices in his mind and seeing hallucinations, thanks to Stephen Wilkie's Marley apparition which is spiritual on different levels. This scene then sets up the crux of the storyline - and the most scenese in the production - with the visit of the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future, the result of which is a transformed Scrooge following his redemption, rid of his meanness which is replaced by humility, consideration and kindness, particularly with the apparition of his gravestone and Jacob Marley making a re-appearance.
The change is complete and the story nears it end, featuring happy families and presents and, in true musical style, a grand finale worthy of any stage.
With a cast of over 40 and another 20 in the orchestra, as well as numerous others behind the scenes, this is a significant production, but one that director Philip Dutton has put together admirably, keeping alive the tradition of Pirate Productions in Luxembourg to offer top quality musical productions in Luxembourg. If you don't start to look forward to Christmas after seeing this production, little else will get you in the mood.
Although over 1,900 tickets have been sold already, some tickets are still available for some performances, in particular the Thursday performance (Opening). The theatre holds over 400 people with all the seats used. Tickets cost (Adults €24, Children and Students €12) and are on sale online at www.pirates.lu or email: firstname.lastname@example.org or tel: 356339
See www.pirates.lu for further details.