Last night I had my first Christmas 2017 gig. It was the official opening of the delightful A Seussified Christmas Carol at the National Children’s Theatre in Parktown. One of the most famous of all Christmas reads is the Charles Dickens famous novella, A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost-Story of Christmas. The book was written in 1843 at a time when the British people were examining their Christmas traditions from the past, such as carols, and adopting new ones, like Christmas trees. It was published on 19 December and completely sold out before Christmas. It was certainly relevant then. It remains so. A true classic.
This play is a Seussified version of A Christmas Carol in rhyme, adapted for stage by the American Peter Bloedel. It is important to note that A Seussified Christmas Carol is not affiliated, endorsed or sponsored by Dr Seuss Enterprises, as the script makes plain.
However, all the elements of the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge are present. He is visited by the ghost of his former business partner, Jacob Marley, as well as the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come, after which Scrooge is transformed into a better person.
As usual director Francois Theron and his creative team have done a magnificent job with every aspect of the play which is as charming for adults as it is for children of all ages. Daniel Keith Geddes was responsible for the music, with the set being designed by Sarah Roberts and created by Stan Knight, with lighting by Jane Gosnell, costumes by Sarah Roberts, stage management by Willie van Staden and Liz-Mari Botha being the “Children Co-ordinator”.
There are three teams of children and on opening night the green team (although not as listed in the programme) were on duty. These are Vuyile Zako, Kaih Mokoka and Asher Steenhoff. The children in the show do so well. It really is a pleasure to watch them.
The adult acting team consisted of Daniel Keith Geddes as Scrooge, Nomode Thande Matiwane and Cassius Davids as the Seussy narrators with Nieke Lombard, Jessica Foli, Blaine Shore and Alessandro Mendes making up the entire cast of characters together with the children.
The quirky venue is perfect for this staging and the whole thing is so beautifully constructed.
The pace never flags and it remains a heart-warming pleasure throughout. I was truly touched by the wonderful spirit of the play and join the cast in wishing all its audiences a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
The National Children’s Theatre is situated at 3 Junction Avenue, Parktown. The play runs until 23 December 2017. 011 484 1584 is the number for enquiries.
There is also another play “Sparky” suitable for very little ones running at the same time from 5 December 2017 and there is a summer holiday camp running from 4-8 December 2017 under the title “A Doctored Seuss”.