scroogeWith Christmas just around the corner it looks like it’s Panto time again. Oh no it isn’t! Oh yes it is! No really, it is, and there’s no better Panto on the block than Sleeping Tree’s SCROOGE AND THE SEVEN DWARVES at Theatre 503.

Josh, James and John have rented the theatre, sold the tickets, made the costumes, booked the actors… No wait, they haven’t! A cast of 30 strong RADA graduates haven’t been cast and now the three of them have perform all the parts and oh yes, there are some hilarious consequences. Roping in Ben from the audience (spoiler alert, I don’t think he is actually an audience member!) to play a multitude of instruments and some damn catchy songs, this unlikely trio tell the tale of an evil witch who has stolen all the Christmas spirit, except for the tiniest bit left in Scrooge’s heart which is released through encounters with various fairy-tale creatures. Oh, I forgot to mention it is the best show you’ll see this Christmas.

Each of the lads brings something unique to the show. John Woodburn takes on the central role of Scrooge and portrays him as an aging Charles Dance impersonating Mr Burns which is just a delight to watch. Josh George Smith is the slightly Eton-esque straight man who adds a slightly delicate nature to Bob Cratchet and his Tiny Tim puppet son, as well a ravishing Snow White. The energy of James Dunnell-Smith is absolutely electrifying, he bounces of the walls and morphs his face into an elastic bundle of expressions.

Together the three of them are utterly hilarious to watch, the script has just enough gags for the kids to scream in excitement at and for the adults there was never a moment when we weren’t in stitches. Their whip-crack smart jokes mean that this is the perfect show to take teenagers to as event they wouldn’t be able to suppress a smile.

Watching Sleeping Trees’ Christmas show is sure to be one of the highlights of your Christmas season. Take your friends, take your family, hell even take your work colleagues (only if you like them, Brian from accounts doesn’t deserve this show) and get into the festive spirit with the funniest show since the Vicar of Dibley Christmas special!

Reviewed by Roz Carter
Photo: David Monteith-Hodge

SCROOGE AND THE SEVEN DWARVES plays at Theatre 503 until 7 January 2017