A reimagining of Charles Dickens’ classic ghost story A Christmas Carol.
Featuring live music, video projections and plenty of surprises, Humbug! is an immersive, multi-sensory Christmas experience that takes place throughout Exeter’s atmospheric St Nicholas Priory.
Produced in partnership with Exeter Historic Buildings Trust.
“Absolutely thrilling. The magic of Christmas lives on.” Marina, Audience Feedback
“To take such a well-known story and tell it in a way that felt like we were hearing it for the first time was sheer genius. You used the atmosphere of the stunning venue so brilliantly too. We thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish. Well done and thank you!”Sarah, Audience Feedback
“Such a clever telling of a well-known story, in a magical setting. You brought the story to life and you brought a beautiful building to life. Long live, live theatre!”Anthony, Audience Feedback
“Brilliant, funny, moving, poignant and glittering performances. Was happily transported into magical settings and loved every minute of it. Joyous moments with friends and strangers in the true spirit of Christmas. Definitely one of the best things I have seen in ages.” Nell, Audience Feedback
“There was something for everyone here, writer and director Luke Jeffery fashioning an entertainment that appealed to all spectators, from young to old (and young at heart). Songs, games, puppetry, audience interaction and a very special way of including personal memories of Christmases past.
The character of the different rooms in the old priory, converted into an Elizabethan townhouse in the wake of the Tudor dissolution of the monasteries, was utilised to great effect: the upper chamber as Scrooge’s cold, haunted office; the four poster bedroom as the arena for his dream memories; the dining room as the locus of Fezziwig’s party and the Tullish descent of the foppish spirit of Christmas Present (a charismatically tuneful turn by Four of Swords stalwart Benjamin Akira Tallamy); the chill, spartan kitchen as the Cratchit home (with clever intimations of further space beyond, above a truncated staircase); and finally, the vaults as the hellishly lit gateway to the beyond.
Costumes were simple but highly effective (the gauzy, fairylit spirit of Christmas Past in particular) and Marley’s ghost, a composite of bills and monetary scrips, his eyes glowing with empty, baleful horror, was a marvellous mannequin. The twinned vocalisation from the two cast members who manipulated his swooping visitation created a real sense of the eerie.
Charlie Coldfield was a great Scrooge, resisting the temptation to overplay a well-known character, and creating a genuine sense of poignancy at his eventual transformation as a result. And Richard Feltham was a splendid Bob Cratchit, who also served as guide and master of singalongs and games (and a chatty spirit of Christmas Past). A humble turnaround from his role as the commanding Count in Burn the Curtain’s fantastic production of A Company of Wolves, an adaptation of my literary hero Angela Carter’s short stories, which I had the pleasure to experience twice.
In all, a splendid seasonal entertainment leaving me striding through the winter streets of Exeter with a warm glow in my heart. Fine work, chaps. I look forward to more in the future.” Jez Winship