Get into the festive spirit with Rustington Players' take on A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol
A Christmas Carol

Val Daly is promising a brilliant cast in her directorial swansong for the Rustington Players as they take to the stage with A Christmas Carol this November.

It has been a massive undertaking and importantly a fun undertaking.

But after it, Val says she will be happy to hand over directing duties to younger people as she quietly slips back on stage with a view to a few cameos.

But she is confident her directing career will end in fine style, Karen Louise Hebden’s adaptation of the classic Charles Dickens tale providing the perfect platform.

Val is co-directing the production with Claire Cossins. Together they are bringing in members of the Rustington Players Youth Theatre.

On Christmas Eve the miserly Scrooge (played by Martin Sworn) makes Bob Cratchit (Jody Bull) work in the cold at Christmas. Scrooge is visited by a series of ghosts who show him how his mean behaviour has affected those around him.

He sees his old business partner, Jacob Marley (Stevie Lambert) the Ghosts of Christmas Past (Tanya Beane) Christmas Present (Marlene Ticknell) and Christmas Yet to Come (Robbie Tolhurst). Playing Tiny Tim will be Elodie Barclay.

As Val says, Scrooge is a part which demands that the actor playing him gives everything: “He has got to go from being an old miser and a misery to being completely transformed, to go from humbug to happy. It is a huge contrast. The actor has got to be able to have different moods, and he has got to go deep within himself and give his all to the audience… and the audience has got to know that he is giving his all.

“And I am just so lucky to have Martin as Scrooge. He is absolutely right in the part.”

Excellent too is the adaptation. Val rejected Sir John Mortimer’s version as being too wordy and simply not modern enough. Karen Louise Hebden’s version is spot on.

“She wanted to be as near as possible to Dickens’ version. I read it and I loved it. There are storytellers that come in and out of the play, talking about what is going on and helping to tell the story.”

Also perfect is the combination with co-director Claire who is looking after the musical side of the show: “There are Christmas carols running through the play and there are certain ideas that are repeated in different styles, but the music underscores the play to give it drama, and that is what Claire has done. I knew her, but I just didn’t know how good she is, and the cast are just brilliant.

“A Christmas Carol is something everyone wants to see at this time of year, and they won’t be disappointed. The cast is fantastic. We have been so lucky.”

The production has been two years in the planning. Val has been meeting with Claire for the past year to 18 months, and while Val will continue on stage, this is where it stops as far as the directing goes.

“I have now reached an age where I think ‘Let the young people come forward. Let people like Claire take over.’ This has been really quite hard to put it all together. I think I will now go back on stage and do a few cameos.

“Directing is very much about experience, but it takes its toll. I don’t know what the future holds, but I think my husband will be very happy that I am not directing anymore!

“This has been really, really big and it has been hard work. But it is not about me. It is about the cast, but even now, speaking about it, I am enjoying talking about it… but I know I won’t miss it!”

Tickets £10 from or phone or text 07546 306438.

Also available on the door.

Performances are from Wednesday, November 13-Saturday, November 16 at 7.45pm at The Woodlands Centre, Rustington. Doors and bar open at 7pm.

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