A 200-year-old tale for today

JIM CHIPP
Last updated 11:04 06/12/2012
Dickensweb
Christmas spirit: Ray Henwood will read from Dicken's A Christmas Carol at Circa Theatre until 22 December.

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Despite it once being the base of a Muppet movie, actor Ray Henwood says Dickens' A Christmas Carol is anything but a children's tale.

"It's a moral tale."

Dickens expressed his own deprived youth throughout the book, Henwood said.

"The social disparities that existed; the abundant wealth that existed; and the extreme poverty that London, in particular, could show.

"Of course, he chose the time [Christmas] because that is the time, he says, when wealth is abundant and want is keenly felt.

"It's certainly not a children's piece. It's very much a piece for the thinking person.

"In fact, I don't think children would get it because all the concepts in it are really adult concepts - selfishness, greed and avarice."

The Circa stalwart will read from Dickens' text this month and bring some memorable characters to life on stage: Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim, the ghosts of Christmas past and present, and of Christmas to come.

The poverty faced by the family of Scrooge's employee, Cratchit, is harshly contrasted with the wealth of his nephew's family.

Every facet of society is seen, Henwood said.

"It's sentimental. Nothing is as clearcut in real life but, of course, that is the way to highlight it."

A Christmas Carol was shorter than most of Dickens' other works, and was written and published as a single integrated piece, he said.

The rest were written and published in serial form, which explained why they had been popular television shows - they could be split neatly into episodes.

The production marks 200 years since Dickens' birth.

"I hope it will give people the idea, not a particularly religious one, but the idea of the feeling of Christmas that comes to us all."

A Christmas Carol, Circa Theatre, December 7 until 22.

To book or for information visit circa.co.nz or call 801 7992.

Carolyn's choice

Carolyn Henwood will face a dilemma on Friday.

Her husband will appear in a show at one theatre while her son will be on stage at another around the corner.

Ray's performance of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol will open at Circa the same night her son, Dai, will be appearing in a single live production of TV3's Seven Days at the Opera House.

As a judge, Ms Henwood is well qualified to make a sensible decision.

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- The Wellingtonian

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