"We loved A Christmas Carol at Ingatestone Hall. Very atmospheric...Never seen quite such a 'dramatic' interpretation of Scrooge...really pretty scary. His quite violent abhorrence of the world was leagues away from the usual grumpy misanthropic version we get. Won't forget it in a hurry." Heather McCallum, London
Prodigious old miser Ebenezer Scrooge holds everything but money in contempt, most especially love, friendship and Christmas.
Keen to ensure he's as thoroughly miserable as possible, he rejects all seasonal invitations and finds himself alone with a bowl of gruel on Christmas Eve. This makes him happy really, because it's the proof he needs that the world is an appalling, insensitive place and he's been right to turn his back on it for most of his adult life. To his immense surprise and disbelief, his solitude is interrupted by a visit from the ghost of his old business partner, Jacob Marley, who - as a result of his own miserly behaviour in life - now roams the world unseen in an epic set of chains, forced to witness the struggles of humanity without the power to help or change a thing he sees. He warns Scrooge that he's in line for the same deal if he doesn't reconsider his life and has arranged for his reluctant friend to be visited by three spirits - the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come - through whom he will have the chance to redeem himself.
But can such an awful old so-and-so really change, or is it already too late?
Charles Dickens' stormingly popular tale of ghosts, Christmas and miserly redemption apparated in Essex, London and Hertfordshire in Winter 2008.
"I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach."