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A Christmas Carol at Chorleywood Memorial Hall*****
9:32am Tuesday 3rd January 2012 in Freetime
Chorleywood be proud, you have a five-star production on your doorstep.
Joshua Sills and team have produced a real sizzler of a show and for me it was the unlikely place where Christmas really got switched on this year.
As I entered the Memorial Hall I could smell the mince pies and mulled wine, (you don’t get that in the West End). The hall ceiling had been covered by a snowy parachute, with hundreds of Christmas baubles carefully attached, really setting a yuletide scene.
The show began with the cast emerging from the audience singing an upbeat number, introducing the play. The colourful Victorian costumes looked great against the versatile red brick set. Simple but very effective and Tom Barton’s lighting expertly managed the mood of this Christmas classic.
I spoke the show’s young director, Joshua Sills before the performance and he explained how the show began its life way back at the end of August. Casting, planning, booking and rehearsal followed on and he and Talkwood Productions effectively book out the Memorial hall for all of December and have done so with great success for the past four years.
It was very special to watch a performance produced and created by local people, especially for the home population. It was also wonderful to hear the heartfelt appreciation, applause and laughter of the Chorleywood residents. Having said that, this production has real class and would not have looked out of place in Drury Lane.
The entire cast fizzed but notable performances included Pedro Gardiner as the ghost of Christmas Present and of course Scrooge, played by Stephen Emery. Mia Hatfield was very engaging as Belle and Mr and Mrs Cratchit were masterful.
Patrick Rufey’s musical direction had to be spot on, as evidenced by the accomplished and talented singing.
Well done to a very able bunch of technicians and artists.
Paul Henley Washford
Touring now until January 19. Details: www.talkwoodproductions.org.uk