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Chris High reviews: Scrooge' 2006

Scrooge

Shane Richie, Anthony Stuart Lloyd, Geoffrey Abbott, Robyn North,
Julia Nagle, Sheri Copeland, Chris Gosling
Director: Bob Tomson
Choreographer: Lisa Kent
Illusionist: Paul Kieve
Liverpool Empire Theatre
Tuesday 7th February, 2006

Scrooge starring Shane Richie: promotional image

SCROOGE

"I was a child of close observation. I looked at nothing that I know of and
yet saw everything.
" Charles Dickens.

A Christmas Carol must be the most loved of all Charles Dickens's stories. Filled with intrigue and moral justification, it is a broad canvas on which to paint a musical while the role of Scrooge - made famous by Albert Finney on screen and, more recently, Tommy Steele on stage - is a tough one to adopt.

Shane Richie, however, is superb in this latest production. The way the multi-talented actor allows the part to envelop him is both deeply sinister and intensely uplifting, as his character is transported through Yuletides past, present and future by ghosts made real, the incredible effects supplied by "Harry Potter" illusionist, Paul Kieve, and a supporting cast who are as dynamic as the star of the show.

Stealing the limelight a little, Anthony Stuart Lloyd, as the gigantic Ghost Of Christmas Present, gave an outstanding performance in which his rich baritone vocals filled the theatre as though it were a living room, while The Ghost Of Christmas Past, Sheri Copeland, was as much a delight to listen to as her entrance and exit were spectacular.

But this was Shane Richie's night, as he stole every scene with his curmudgeonly exposition, his sincerity and his moving repentance that takes the miserable old miser back to the love that he thought he'd lost. If anybody dare doubt his acting ability, then watch him carefully as a game of The Minister's Cat ensues on stage.

The sets are lifted directly from the page and imbibe the Victorian atmosphere with a rich tapestry of light and dark that are truly jaw-dropping in their originality, whereas the costumes are as stunning as anything yet to be seen on stage.

The effects, though often subtle, still draw gasps of appreciation from the audience and do not crowd out the feel of a story that is still as warm and enriching as it was intended to be in 1843 when first written.

As for the songs, though not littered with as many recognisable tunes as other shows of this stature, they are still atmospheric enough to get feet tapping and hands clapping in time. Thank You Very Much, however, is a showstopper in its own right and is performed with all of the perceptive and well orchestrated dexterity befitting a Hollywood extravaganza.

Shane Richie, though no newcomer to the Liverpool scene, obviously fed from the warmth of the reception he received and lapped up the standing ovation he, the cast and crew were rightly given. I only hope that it's not too long before he's back in town again.
9/10Shane Richie, though no newcomer to the Liverpool scene, obviously fed from the warmth of the reception he received and lapped up the standing ovation he, the cast and crew were rightly given. I only hope that it's not too long before he's back in town again.
9/10
 
Shane Richie pictured together with Chris' partner, Helen.

Chris' partner Helen with Shane


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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
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