“Ebeneezer Scrooge is one of Dickens’ most endearing characters – eventually!” says Richard who takes to the stage as an old skinflint ripe for redemption at the Chichester’s New Park Centre from Wednesday to Saturday, December 7-10 at 7.30pm plus Saturday matinee at 2.30pm.
The Chichester Players are promising an enchanting musical re-telling for all the family of Charles’ Dickens’ best-known novel, adapted by Gillian Montgomery who also directs.
Richard sees a big part of the pleasure in the contrast he will have to draw “between the miserable person he starts out as and the complete transformation to the joyous one at the end.”
Plenty of people will think Alastair Sim when they think of the role: “But I think you have just got to give what you can yourself. I tend to try not to model myself on anybody, but I think Scrooge was actually one of the best roles Michael Caine ever did, in the Muppet movie. It was the way he worked with the Muppets, the way they put it together.”
But for the show, Richard will be following his own thoughts: “I think it is important right from the start to realise that the ghosts are actually on Scrooge’s side, all the spirits from Marley onwards, particularly when you see the Spirit of Christmas Yet To Come who is usually portrayed as this grim reaper. But you have to remember he is very much on Scrooge’s side… which is often something that gets forgotten. He is there for Scrooge’s improvement.”
It’s a big role.
“Scrooge never leaves the stage. He is on, right from the moment he appears through to the end. He is observing the whole way through, seeing what happens around him, seeing the needy and the rapacious about him, seeing the people that are desperate that he wasn’t aware of.
“This is going to be a very classical production. It is going to be a very faithful rendition of the book. I think it is based on the original illustrations for the story.”
Richard added: “I moved down from London in 2009 for family reasons, and I joined the Chichester Players then. I was living in Pulborough then and there was nothing there, so I joined the Chichester Players instead. I have been there seven years now.
“They are a very friendly and welcoming company,” says Richard who also works with New Theatre Productions.
“The last three things I have done have been directing, and so it is nice to get back to acting now. Increasingly I have been getting more involved in direction, but acting brings its own satisfactions as well.”
Tickets from the New Park Centre and on http://chichestercinema.org/film/chi-players-a-christmas-carol.
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