The Hope Mill Theatre, who have made a name for themselves staging new musicals in an intimate settings, have brought a twist on a festive classic to their stage this Christmas.
Nothing can get you in the Christmas spirit more than the gorgeous setting of the Hope Mill Theatre. With their tremendous Christmas tree and magical decorations, it is an enchanting setting to stage a new musical over the festive season.
The Astonishing Times of Timothy Cratchit tells the unique tale of Timothy, or who we know best as Tiny Tim from A Christmas Carol. Fast-forward a few years later and Timothy is sixteen and after his parents death is living with uncle Scrooge.
At the end of A Christmas Carol, Scrooge finds his Christmas spirit again. But as we delve into this new story, we discover that his happiness lies in his relationship with young Timothy. Playing a fatherly figure in his life and guiding him along the way, it isn’t until Timothy wants to experience the world does their relationship starts to fall apart.
After a visit to The Great Exhibition and meeting the famous clown Grimaldi, Timothy wants to venture out in the world and join the circus. It’s a bizarre concept but pushes the moving message of taking life with both hands and going on the adventure of life. Director Jonathan O’Boyle has captured this through his innovative direction that brings warmth and a real sense of humanity to the musical.
What makes this production shine is the exceptional cast. Ryan Kopal leads the show as Timothy and he carries the narrative in a beautifully tender way. We see Timothy’s curiosity, determination and wonder showcased through sublime musical numbers. Kopal commands the audience, forming a connection with everyone through his engaging performance. His vocals are sublime and his final number My World is a empowering moment in the show.
Helen Pearson is fantastic as both Mrs Linden, Scrooge’s handmaid and Mrs Poole the owner of the boarding house. Pearson displays superb versatility and comedy timing with her witty lines and distinct characterisation. Similarly, Michael Matus’ eccentric depiction of Grimaldi is hilarious and has the audience howling with laughter.
Through the crazy plot, the heart of the story is about the relationships. Paul Greenwood plays Ebenezer Scrooge and his kind-hearted nature creates a heartening relationship between Scrooge and Timothy. The heartbreak Scrooge feels when Timothy leaves him proves just how much their friendship changed his outlook on life.
Timothy falls in love with his new friend Lucy, played by Sammy Graham and their final duet Better Days to Come (reprise) is a poignant moment in the show.
The Astonishing Times of Timothy Cratchit is an inventive new musical that blends the crazy theatrics of the circus with characters we all know and love. With stirring musical numbers, it’s a life-affirming musical that will warm your heart this festive season.
On at the Hope Mill Theatre until the 29th of December, tickets and information can be found on their website.