24 Feb 2024
Charles Dickens: “A Christmas Carol”
Creative Arts Culture

Charles Dickens: “A Christmas Carol”

Is it just me or does Christmas hurtle towards us, at an exponential rate?  Every. Single. Year. Am I the only one who finds it almost impossible to reconcile the “Christmas Spirit” with frantically taking care of family and preparing for what inevitably becomes a bit of an anti-climax?  Yes? Really? “Bah, humbug!”

Luckily for me, I was given the chance to reflect on this when I had the privilege of meeting talented director, Pernilla Isedal & some cast members of  “A Christmas Carol.” This is the 6th year that the production comes to Stockholm, with its popularity gaining more momentum every year.

When asked about what makes this year’s show different, Isedal states:

“I actually change things every year, because even though there is always the original Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol” but I think that the whole production needs to evolve so, I actually spend a lot of the summer, sitting under an umbrella in the sun, reading a Christmas Carol. I always find new things with it every time I read it and thinking of new ways of working things out. It could be both technically, also finding new parts in the novel itself that are really, really interesting… anything I change or add, I always have to make sure that it really is Dickens & A Christmas Carol.”

Isedal speaks with such genuine passion about the production, it is hard to not get caught up in it.

For those of us who are all too familiar with the great Christmas tradition of watching or reading “A Christmas Carol”, it is interesting to hear how many Swedes are returning every year, incorporating this distinctly British tradition as part of their own. The cast is a wonderful mix of British and Swedish talent, working together like a close knit family to create a wonderful, heart-warming production.

ACC_2012_028I was greeted with enthusiastic hellos and handshaking from the main character, Ebenezer Scrooge, himself! Ted Merwood is an affable man, with a distinctive accent and an infectious laugh. His love for this wonderful piece of work is hugely apparent. When asked for his thoughts on what makes this tale so tangible and ever popular, his reply was simply thus:

“It is the most human of stories, everyone can identify with the character. Every emotion is portrayed and everyone cries for Tiny Tim.”

Merwood is a veteran within this production; He has played 5 different characters, including Jacob Marley and Scrooge himself. When asked about his favourite scene to play, he replied without hesitation: “The Jacob Marley scene and the monologue at the end – it is a gift for an actor”. When I think of the character of Ebenezer Scrooge, I see a very particular picture. Ted Merwood fits that picture, perfectly.

This year sees the addition of new cast members with London based actor, Naomi Bullock playing four different roles, the biggest being that of the Ghost of Christmas Past:

“In re-reading it in preparation for this, I was really struck by what a heart-warming but what a profound story it is. It pulls no punches and doesn’t patronise children at all.  A classic example of a good story which brings up massive themes and kids can handle it. I think that’s why it stuck with me so much as a child”.

I was interested to know what makes “A Christmas Carol” relevant to a modern day society. Bullock replied –

“When they go back in time and you see the young Scrooge with Belle and she sort of says – your love of money, I can’t live with it now. She’s got very different values. That’s definitely relevant today; what you pursue in life & what you make your aim in life and charity in general and being a just and fair employer. There are so many different, relevant themes going on”.

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After the interviews, I left the theatre with a renewed sense of spirit; a reminder of my priorities for my family this Christmas. The story may have been written in 1843 but for me, it is still the most hopeful story of human spirit, of our ability to change our lives and those around us. How much more relevant for a today’s society can we get?

Première 10th December at Maxim Theatre

More information and ticket purchase here:  www.blixten.se/show–teater/a-christmas-carol 

Photos supplied by Blixten

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