Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Ghosts of Christmas just Past and Belated Happy New Year

On January 7, Shane Jones and I attended the final performance of A Christmas Carol at the Comedy Theatre in Melbourne. 

We saw the first Australian production a little over a year ago, with Australian actor David Wenham as Ebenezer Scrooge. It was as fine a time in the theatre as we have ever spent, so much so that we were reluctant to chance undercutting a perfect theatrical memory with a revival that might not quite live up to it. In the end, however, a generous offer of two-for-one tickets for the final performances was too tempting to resist - although we still had slight reservations.

We needn’t have been concerned. In the role of Scrooge, Welsh actor Owen Teale was every bit as impressive as David Wenham, which, believe me, is saying something, and the rest of the cast (some of them returning from the last production) were, as before, simply wonderful. I love Dickens and still treasure my childhood copy of the novella on which the play is based.

As in the previous production, just before it got under way, several cast members hurled oranges into the audience with gay abandon and astonishing precision. Shane proved to be as gifted a catcher as they were pitchers, and managed to catch one for each of us and another for the woman sitting next to me. We also scored two mince pies each from a couple of “vendors” moving through the audience. They were the best mince pies I’ve ever tasted.

My orange survived long enough to serve briefly as an additional reference for Orange Tree, another painting that draws primary inspiration from an embroidery designed by May Morris (work in progress, pictured top). The orange was consumed shortly after this photo was taken. It was every bit as sweet and juicy as it looks.

Belated but heartfelt wishes to you all for a sweet, juicy and happy 2024.