Scrooge’s Christmas epiphany on stage

Starring in Howick Little Theatre’s production of A Christmas Carol are actors, from left, Ryan Burgoyne, Miguel Mitchell, and David Steadman. Times photo Wayne Martin

Actor David Steadman brings a dynamic stage presence and a booming voice to his latest role as one of history’s greatest writers in Howick Little Theatre’s production of A Christmas Carol.

Steadman may be more used to playing psychotic fictional characters in the theatre’s shows, but he does a stellar job portraying famed British writer Charles Dickens as well as one of the author’s most famous creations, the cantankerous Ebenezer Scrooge.

The play, written by Michael Paller and directed by Andrew Gordon, is set on Christmas Eve, 1843.

It unfolds in Dickens’ London home and sees his friends and family gather for a night of dramatic storytelling as they act out his latest work.

The cast’s youngest members, Ryan Burgoyne, Miriam Gedge, and Miguel Mitchell, bring energy and playfulness to the evening’s festivities that’s balanced out by the doom and gloom of Dickens’ dour friend John Forster, portrayed by Dennis Zhang.

Husband and wife Mr and Mrs Stanfield are played by Jake La Jeunesse and Natasha Foster respectively, with Dominique Pritchard as Catherine Dickens, Mitch Blyde as Frederick Dickens, and Paul Thompson as Mark Lemon.

Dickens’ interactions with his family and friends are largely cheerful and light-hearted as they bring his latest literary work to life through various dramatic scenes staged in his home.

A dark cloud envelops proceedings as Scrooge is given a jarring and emotional look at what his life would be like unless he changes his miserly ways.

Through this experience, he transforms into a more generous and kind-hearted character as reality sets in.

Paller’s telling of Dickens’ beloved story deftly deals with a variety of themes including selfishness, poverty, family, love, and redemption.

A well-designed set and excellent period costumes tie it all together into a play that takes its audience along on a journey that serves to remind of the true spirit of Christmas.

What: A Christmas Carol, directed by Andrew Gordon
Where: Howick Little Theatre, 1 Sir Lloyd Drive, Pakuranga
When: November 21 to December 12 (Wed to Sat, 8pm), with 2pm matinee on November 29.
Phone the theatre on 534 1401 or go online to www.hlt.org.nz.