Adrian Edmondson to play Scrooge in Royal Shakespeare Company play

Friday 22nd July 2022, 8:38am

  • Adrian Edmondson will star as Ebenezer Scrooge in the Royal Shakespeare Company's revival of A Christmas Carol
  • The play will run in Stratford-upon-Avon from 26th October 2022 to 1st January 2023
  • Edmondson says of the plot: "It couldn't be more relevant today than it has been in the past 30-40 years"
Adrian Edmondson. Copyright: Royal Shakespeare Company, Hugo Glendinning

The Young Ones star Adrian Edmondson will play Ebenezer Scrooge in the Royal Shakespeare Company's revival of David Edgar's adaptation of Dickens's much-loved classic story A Christmas Carol.

The production, directed by Rachel Kavanaugh, runs in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon between 26 October 2022 - 1 January 2023.

David Edgar's socially-conscious adaptation of Dickens's classic fable opened in 2017 to critical acclaim in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, where it played to sell-out audiences. The production was revived the following year due to audience demand.

The plot is described as follows: "This festive tale of redemption and compassion follows cold-hearted businessman Ebenezer Scrooge, who - over the course of one ghostly Christmas night - learns to pity himself and to love his neighbour - but is that enough?"

Adrian Edmondson says: "A Christmas Carol in an extraordinary book. It's been in print continuously since 1843. So it must be saying something very important that catches our imagination. A lot of people think it's about Scrooge and ghosts, which of course it is, but at the heart of it, it's about poverty and our individual reaction to it. So it couldn't be more relevant today than it has been in the past 30-40 years. Not since rationing really. Actual poverty in our streets. People at food banks. That's the driving force of it for Dickens. He'd read a report on poverty and was considering writing this as a dry pamphlet, but wrote it as a story because he thought it would connect more. And, of course, it does. So it's hard to find a play that's more relevant, especially one you might enjoy.

"I'm really looking forward to playing Scrooge. Why, you might ask, would you watch a show about a really horrible person? You watch it because you're cheering him on, urging him to become a better person. You're on his side, you want him to turn. I think that makes him one of the most fundamentally interesting characters in literature, and a great part to play."

Edmondson returns to the RSC after making his debut as Malvolio in Twelfth Night in 2017. His other theatre credits include: The Rocky Horror Show (Piccadilly Theatre), Waiting for Godot (Queens Theatre), Bits of Me Are Falling Apart (Soho Theatre), The Boy Friend (Menier Chocolate Factory) and Once Upon A Time in Nazi Occupied Tunisia (Almeida).

Joining Adrian is Casualty star Sunetra Sarker who makes her RSC debut as The Ghost of Christmas Present.

The cast list also features Beth Alsbury (Hinge), Lauren Arney (Belinda), Sally Cheng (Isabel), Eamonn Cox (Swing), Rachel Denning (Mrs Baldock), Gavin Fowler (Charles Dickens), Clive Hayward (Fezziwig), Jack Humphrey (Tim), Beruce Khan (John Forster), Rebecca Lacey (The Ghost of Christmas Past), Bethany Linsdell (Caroline), Michael Lyle (Father), Alexander Moneypenny (Swing), Conor O'Hara (Swing), Emma Pallant (Mrs Cratchit), Joseph Prowen (Fred), Rachel Seirian (Swing), Oliver Senton (Uber), Mitesh Soni (Bob Cratchit), Liyah Summers (Fanny), Giles Taylor (Marley) and Georgie Westall (Swing).

David Edgar has been writing plays professionally since 1971. Talking about A Christmas Carol, he says: "In 1843, Dickens read a parliamentary report on the conditions of children in the mines and factories of what was aptly called the Hungry Forties, and resolved to write an angry political pamphlet, to be published that Christmas, calling for reform. By the end of the year he'd produced not a tract but a universal story of how benevolence is stronger than greed. I wanted to put Dickens and his ambitions in the foreground of the adaptation. In Rachel Kavanaugh's wonderful production - combining a glorious set with dazzling choreography and musical score - we see Dickens construct his story before our very eyes.

"When we premiered the show in 2017, millions were already relying on food banks and beggars haunted city streets. Covid and the cost of living crisis have made economic inequality - and raw poverty - an even more pressing reality. And yet - in the way the nation came together around the NHS to combat the pandemic - we have been reminded of the selflessness and generosity of spirit which lies at the heart of Dickens's enduringly optimistic story."

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