The National Theatre of Scotland presents 'A Christmas Carol' at the Old Kirk, Kirkcaldy
The National Theatre of Scotland presents 'A Christmas Carol' at the Old Kirk, Kirkcaldy

DICKENS’ tale of Scrooge, his ghostly visitors and all his bah humbugs is one that’s well known and has been re-told many times.

But this month, a new telling of the festive story ‘A Christmas Carol’ comes to Kirkcaldy.

The National Theatre of Scotland brings its seasonal offering to a specially crafted performance space at The Old Kirk.

From the moment audiences set foot into the building they are in for a real treat, being transported to Victorian England and a visit to the offices of Mssers Scrooge and Marley.

Every detail of the intimate space - it only seats 90 - is incredible and trust me, this is a unique production.

A media call gave the Press a preview of a few scenes, and the chance to see for ourselves why this piece of theatre has garnered five star reviews and two awards.

Don’t worry, I won’t give too much away. I’d hate to spoil it for those lucky enough to have tickets.

The company bring the classic Christmas fable to life complete with life-size puppets (some are a little scary) and live music, played on site by composer Jon Beales.

Designed and made by Gavin Glover, the puppets are well handled by cast members - Stuart Angell, Stephen Clyde, Josh Elwell, Beth Marshall and Benny Young - who are also puppeteers.

‘A Christmas Carol’ is the first ever festive production from the company and came about following a discussion between Graham McLaren, who has adapted directed and designed the production, and others at the National Theatre of Scotland.

Not wanting to upset other theatre companies which rely on pantomime, Graham came up with another idea.

He explained: “I said what about doing something bespoke, something more intimate, an alternative to panto, maybe something like ‘A Christmas Carol’. That’s how the idea started and things fell into place.”

Graham was keen to use puppets from the outset and after seeing Gavin’s puppets at a festival, the pair began to create the Dickensian characters.

The director said: “Normally you’d get a good actor coming on playing Jacob Marley and his best mate would be Scrooge, but for us Jacob has an extra dimension as a puppet.

“He can fly and do extraordinary things, because he’s a puppet the audience invests in.

“Gavin and I locked ourselves in a room for five days.

“Of course we had Dickens, his really wonderful descriptions of things gave us so much to go on.”

The production had its full debut run in Govan Town Hall last year and proved a success, but what brings it to Kirkcaldy?

Graham said: “Last year in Glasgow Frank Chinn (ON At Fife chief executive) came along and saw it. He said we should bring it to Fife, and here we are!

“The Old Kirk is beautiful, the Trust have been so great.

“There’s the Adam Smith Theatre and other venues in Fife, but it’s not the sort of place you’d get world class work coming for a month - but we’re here for a month!

“Maybe next year we’re in New York or London, but the quality of work will be the same.

“It shouldn’t make any difference whether you see it in a posh international festival or at the Old Kirk because you happen to live in Fife.”