Caro Meets Theatre Interview

Danny Wainwright: A family ‘Christmas Carol’

By | Published on Thursday 11 December 2014

If you are looking for a theatrical treat for the whole family over Christmas then this show might be just the thing: a comical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’, aimed at entertainment lovers of all ages.


As a fan of ‘A Christmas Carol’, Dickens, and indeed, Christmas in general, I wasn’t likely to pass up the chance to find out more about this one, especially as I have a nearly-eight-year-old girl to occupy over the holidays. I quizzed director Danny Wainwright, artistic director of Let Them Call It Mischief, the producing company behind the show.

CM: Most grown ups know the story of A Christmas Carol, though some children might not – can you tell us what happens in the show?
DW: It’s difficult to say too much without spoiling the show for a new audience! There’s something brilliant about experiencing the story for the first time with no preconceptions of what’s about to happen. Anyhow, to answer the question you asked… Ebenezer Scrooge is a mean and grumpy man who dislikes almost everything, but especially Christmas. He’s disturbed by some ghostly visitors who show him the error of his miserly ways and teach him to love Christmas.

CM: The staging sounds interesting – can you tell us how it works?
DW: The story is so fast paced and jumps to so many places (the luxury of a novel rather than a play!) that we needed a way to go from one scene to the other and create new worlds at the drop of a hat. With a revolving stage and moveable carts, we can do that!

CM: What sort of age range is this show is suitable for?
DW: The show is suitable for anyone aged 8 up. There’s something in there for everyone so it’s definitely a show you can enjoy on a night out with your mates or with your 8 year old niece, or your grandparents. Basically, if you’re 8 or over and you like having a great time, you’ll enjoy it!

CM: How many actors are involved? How do they manage all those characters?
DW: We’ve got seven wonderful actors. They’re all great at changing from one character to another in front of your very eyes (oooh magic!) How they do it, you’ll just have to come and see!

CM: This is a quite funny version of the story, isn’t it? Does the show still manage to convey the more serious messages Dickens was trying to send?
DW: Yes this is a funny version, but Dickens’ story is still there. There are some great funny parts but also some darker and touching moments too. Scrooge is being shown all the mistakes he has made and the consequences they have, or could have – so the message is very much present, with some silliness thrown in for good measure.

CM: Which is the scariest ghost?
DW: I think the Ghost of Christmas Future has to be the scariest, or at least the most conventionally scary. He might remind you of another pretty frightening character, but I shan’t say which one! Having said that, all the ghosts are trying to help and teach Scrooge so even if they could be scary, it all comes from a good place!

CM: Which is your favourite ghost?
DW: That’s like asking what your favourite biscuit is! They’re all so different and have their own ways of doing things which is great. I think it all depends what the situation is. One of the ghosts would be brilliant at some things, and really awful at others, like biscuits in fact. You might love a rich tea biscuit, which I do – but let it be dunked for more than a millisecond and all you’re left with is a biscuitty mess. Has that strained the analogy to breaking point? I think it probably has…

CM: For you, what’s best thing and the worst thing about Christmas?
There is nothing bad about Christmas. It is amazing!

‘A Christmas Carol’ is on at Pleasance Islington until 4 Jan. See the venue website here  for more info and to book tickets.

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