When Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol, I am sure he didn’t realise the power his novel would have in the centuries that followed. Fast forward to now, it is hard to not find a production of the classic novel, whether it is on stage or a blockbuster rendition by The Muppets; the story has reached and been loved by millions. So how can such a global phenomenon be adaptable for a modern generation? Make way for Ghosted: Another F***ing Christmas Carol.
A non-stop adventure filled with heart and stocking fillers of laughter that celebrates being queer
Set in a modern date lettings agency we meet Bobbie Cratchet, the letting agent assistant to owner Eloisa Scrooge. Eloisa (Natalie Boakye), like all renditions, is a cruel and heartless character who only cares for their own benefit and finances. Even when tenants are coming into her office with issues such as broken plumbing and a whole wall missing from their house (yes, that was said), Scrooge tells their tenants to deal with it or risk being evicted on Christmas Day. Scrooge even acts in a similar manner to Bobbie by forcing her to work on Christmas Day. However we are in modern times so at least she can work from home! Bobbie (Nikki Biddington) is suddenly possessed by the ghost of Eloisa’s old business partner Marley who proclaims that she will be visited by three spirits at the strike of the clock on each hour from midnight and setting the tone for the remainder of the play.
Here in Scrooge's home, we meet the prophesied guests: the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future, all played by the wonderfully charming Christopher Lane. Each rendition of Scrooge’s timeline is brought to life with great wit and absurdity. Who would have thought that the best way to make Eloisa Scrooge come to terms with their wrongdoings would be to drag her to filth on everything she has done, and continues to do and how these actions will eventually lead to her demise. Lane makes each spirit a different rendition of the other yet still pokes hilarity into our faces as they make jabs at Eloisa throughout her life until she can find a way to right her wrongdoings.
The cast must be commended for their dedication to the production from start to finish. Natalie Boakye is phenomenal as the ill-hearted Scrooge and is wonderfully contrasted by Nikki Biddington who depicts the modern-day worker struggling to make ends meet whilst trying to balance their work and home life from the demands of their appalling employer. Christopher Lane showcases their fabulous versatility and continues to maintain their professionalism even when switching between pink, red and black leather puffer jackets! Finally, praise must be given to Liam McHugh who, like Lane, portrays a variety of characters throughout the production yet plays them all with great intent and realism. It is hard to believe he went from playing an NHS nurse to a bratty fourteen-year-old who just wants to play XBOX in the course of a scene change! This quartet is perhaps one of the best castings I have seen in a very long time.
Ghosted is a non-stop adventure filled with heart and stocking fillers of laughter that celebrates being queer. It is hard not to be overcome with fits of hysterics and this is what makes this production so special- it is genuinely hilarious. It takes the traditional normalities of the most well-known Christmas story and completely flips them whilst introducing celebrations of queerness and LGBTQ influences. Each actor thrives on their own, yet collectively as an ensemble they are unstoppable; a piece of genius, unlike anything I have ever seen before. What is also interesting to note is that this is the first production of A Christmas Carol (that I have seen), that completely switches the gender of both Scrooge and Cratchit. This subtle change elevates the performance and the ingenuity with which it is carried out as an adaptation for a modern generation is admirable.