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Theatre Review: Aganeza Scrooge ****

Michael Cox reviews 'a festive hybrid of heart and hilarity'.

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol just might be the ultimate Christmas experience: it has moving themes of forgiveness and redemption yet also allows for productions to revel in impressive special effects. Many past productions have had a choice—to lean into a panto version with a hissable Scrooge and farcical shenanigans or to go the traditional heartfelt route.

Aganeza Scrooge at the Tron takes the best of both choices, resulting in a festive hybrid of heart and hilarity. Gone is the Victorian London setting and in is a modern Glasgow with topical references. It works far more than not with a relentless joke rate and visual pizzaz and has a talented ensemble of actors who are game for practically anything.

Originally done a decade ago with writer Johnny McKnight in the outrageous lead dame role, this time Aganeza is played by a slightly more grounded Louise McCarthy. Her Scrooge isn’t necessarily a villain but a loudmouth spoilt brat in arrested development who needs the supernatural kick up the backside in order to see the light. In many ways her Scrooge is a cartoon character, but there is just enough pathos to actually make the redemption arc work.

Director Sally Reid has created a wonderful Christmas hit that combines cheek, satire and wit with a sprinkle of genuine magic, resulting in a production that’s a blast from start to finish.

Aganeza Scrooge performs at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow until January 7, 2024.

Tags: theatre

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