REVIEW by Rosemary Westwell: Viva’s production of ‘A Christmas Carol’ in Soham Church

Hetti Wood

Hetti Wood - Credit: Archant

When one thinks of Dickens and Christmas the two combine to produce a cozy sense of tradition and that all will be well in the end. After a delightfully natural production of his ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Viva, we were left feeling exactly this and such a production provided an excellent beginning to the season.

All the characters were there, finely dressed in appropriate costumes, telling the story just as it was: Scrooge (played by David Tickner), haunted by the ghosts of his deceased business partner Marley, Bob Cratchit (Rowan Maulder), Scrooge’s long suffering employee, and Tiny Tim (Max Moll), the heart-wrenching little cripple who looked as though he was going to have a dreadful Christmas, if he could live to see it.

The rest of the Cratchit family were splendid: Mrs. Cratchit (Mary Barnes), Sarah Cratchit (Lola MacDonald), Martha Cratchit (Kate Weekes), Peter Cratchit (Maverick Brookes) and Belinda Cratchit (Sienna Warder).

The ghosts filled their roles very well: Spirit of Christmas Past (Lizi Nicholson), Spirit of Christmas Present (Phil Logan), and Spirit of Christmas to Come and the Fizziwig family were highly credible and entertaining: Fezziwig (Joshua Schumann), Mrs Fezziwig (Sheila Shorney), Fannie Fezziwig (Evie Dowding) and Emma Fezziwig (Emily Docwra).

Among other necessary characters included Young Scrooge (Jake Stearne), Boy and Scrooge (Xavier Brookes), Young Marley (Jack Wright), Ghost of Marley (David Moat), Agnes (Kirsten Martin), Dick Wilkins (Jordan Thorpe), Adolphus (David Blyth), Mrs Greenrow (Delia Tickner), Dora (Natasha Shorney) and Daniel (Vaughan Moll – also the director). Geoff Fisher appeared in the Ensemble as did a large number of the rest of the cast.

The story unfolded as expected and as various individuals made their parts come alive, we could relive the story most comfortably. Two of the characters that really stood out for me were Scrooge (David Tickner) and Fizziwig (Joshua Schumann). The humbug utterances, facial expressions and downright bitterness of Scrooge were delightful, while Fizziwig’s gradual inebriation with his regular dips into the punch, his posh voice, his grand ineffectual gestures and stooped stance were priceless. Mrs Fizziwig’s character (played by Sarah Shorney) was also highly entertaining and memorable.

Other particularly impressive features of this production were the confidence, clarity, and credibility of the children. With such talent at their age, the future of Viva is assured.

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The next Viva production to enjoy is ‘Educating Rita’ next February. Contact tel: