GREEN Hammerton company Badapple Theatre set off on their winter travels tomorrow with Farmer Scrooge’s Christmas Carol, starring York actors James Lewis-Knight and Emily Chattle.
Billed as “classic Badapple: Dickens with a Yorkshire twist, puppets, songs and music by Jez Lowe and all the jokes we can handle at this time of year,” writer-director Kate Bramley’s new family show will play across Yorkshire as well as Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Worcestershire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Staffordshire, Northumberland, Cumbria, County Durham and Oxfordshire.
Starting out at Tockwith Village Hall, near York, tomorrow at 7pm, Badapple’s tour van will take in 22 performances between December 1 and 30 as Bramley’s itinerant band of actors heads to venues on their Yorkshire doorstep and beyond with her comedy slant on Charles Dickens’s 180-year-old story, now set in and around Scrooge’s farm and bedroom in 1959.
“Have a good chuckle while the blustering, skin-flint farmer Ebeneezer Scrooge gets his comeuppance and is forced to see the error of his penny-pinching ways,” says Kate of a production that marks Badapple’s 25th anniversary of touring.
James will play Fred, Scrooge, Shep and Elvis, yes, Elvis; Emily’s multi-role playing will stretch to Ginger, Bert the feed man, Mrs Cratchitt, Niece (Josie), Marley, Belle, Mrs Feziweg, Mr Feziweg, assorted Cratchitts, Undertaker, Mrs Dilbert and Girl. (Please note, name spelling may diversify from other versions, whether Cratchit or Fezziwig).
“Full of local stories and carols, puppets and mayhem, and original songs by Sony Award-winner Jez Lowe, plus a whacking great dose of seasonal bonhomie, this is a winter warmer to put a smile on everyone’s face this Christmas.”
Don’t take only Kate’s word for it. Clare Granger, High Sheriff of North Yorkshire, is a Badapple devotee. “It’s wonderful to spend a joyous evening with Badapple Theatre Company in a small rural village hall,” she says. “Kate Bramley is absolutely fulfilling her ambition to bring the arts into the community and the uplifting effect on the audience of what the theatre company does is palpable.”
Badapple’s mission is to venture out to the smallest and hardest-to-reach village halls and community venues to bring professional theatre to all. “We all know that isolation and loneliness are major issues in our rural communities and that maintaining good mental health is proving more and more of a challenge for the general population,” says the High Sheriff.
“It is hard to overestimate the positive benefits of getting out of the house and attending a joyful, inexpensive, communal event in your own locality. Badapple Theatre Company is providing just this experience.”
This year, James has appeared in York company Next Door But One’s tour of Operation Hummingbird, Matthew Harper-Hardcastle’s “humorous and uplifting exploration of grief, loss and noticing just how far you’ve come”, while Emily did the milk rounds in Badapple’s tour of Eddie And The Gold Tops, Bramley’s comedy of a milkman turning into the cream of Sixties pop stars.
Farmer Scrooge’s Christmas Carol: Yorkshire dates
December 1: Tockwith Village Hall, 7pm. Box office: 01423 331304
December 2: Harpham & Lowthorpe Village Hall YO25 4QZ, 7.30pm. Box office: 07867 692616.
December 3: The Old Girls’ School, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6BL, 7pm. Box office: 01977 685178.
December 13: Bishop Monkton Village Hall, near Harrogate, HG3 3QG, 7.30pm. Box office: 01423 331304.
December 19: Green Hammerton Village Hall, near York, YO26 8AB, 7pm. Box office: 01423 331304.
December 20: Burton Fleming Village Hall, East Yorkshire, YO25 3LL, 6.30pm. Box
December 27: Sutton under Whitestonecliffe Village Hall, Hambleton, YO7 2PS, 4.30pm. Box office: 01423 331304.
December 29: East Cottingwith Village Hall, near York, YO42 2TL, 4pm. Box office: 07866 024009 or 07973 699145.