A Christmas Carol

How often do you hear utterances and wishes of Merry Christmas in November, and how often do you bump into people in Victorian costumes? Funnily enough, it happened at SWA twice this week!

Firstly, we were visited by a travelling theatre who offered their version of “A Christmas Carol”, and then to finish off the week, a group of students went to Solihull to see a musical based on Dickens’ famous story. Jorja: “I was so excited to have a theatre experience, I even  cancelled my ice-skating!” “A Christmas Carol” is a very well-known and much loved story.

With each new production of this tale often comes new interpretations; some unexpected, some arguable, some even downright outrageous – and in these two versions such differences could be seen. The challenge our students faced was to sieve through the quotations used by actors and singers and identify (from memory!) which were correct, and which were adapted to suit the director’s vision of the story. This they did with enthusiasm and considerable success, much to their credit.

Gilana :“I was so pleased to hear the lines we studied in school and in my mind I had almost a check list: will they mention ‘prisons’, ‘working houses’ or ‘surplus population’? However, I couldn’t find a reason for why in the musical, they used a different name (Emily) for Belle. You have to stay true to the writer.”

Unsurprisingly, both versions portrayed Scrooge as every bit the bitter and twisted man we expect, gleeful at the suffering of his employees; and in their feedback students said Scrooge was the most memorable character. The musical version indulged in a couple of party tricks to enhance the supernatural elements of the plot; these were unashamedly gimmicky, like Marley flying or the appearance of the Ghost of Christmas Past.

Its depiction of Fezziwig’s Christmas party was definitely a highlight, full of colours, joy and high spirits. Not to be outdone, the school performance was delivered with gusto, notably injecting some humour into the depiction of fire, and featuring the school’s home-grown talents to great effect. Matthew (who took on the iconic role of Tiny Tim) and Jordan had both been “volunteered” to be a part of the play. Both boys rose to the challenge, and it certainly made the whole performance even more enjoyable.

Cory: “It was funny and engaging.”

Michael: “I enjoyed audience interaction.”

Laiton: “It was a really good performance.”

Aymen: “I really enjoyed the musical and the message that Dickens and the actors wanted to pass on to the viewers.”

All in all, an early dose of Christmas and Victorian costumes that proved very worthwhile!  Our thanks to all those involved in the organisation and the productions, and not least to our students for their exemplary behaviour and enthusiasm.