Drawing: Rhys Ifans as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol

Autographed drawing of Rhys Ifans as Scrooge in The Christmas Carol at The Old Vic Theatre on London's West End

In the immortal words of Scrooge, “A merry Christmas to every-body! A happy new year to all the world! Whoop!”

What better time to post this sketch of the wonderful Welsh actor Rhys Ifans as one of Charles Dickens’ most memorable characters in the Old Vic production of A CHRISTMAS CAROL in London. It’s the ultimate redemption story, the cold-hearted miser who despises the festive season, until the Christmas Spirits fill him with love and joy.

We saw the excellent production a couple of weeks ago and Rhys signed this drawing for me yesterday at the stage door.

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Drawing: Simon Callow in A Christmas Carol

simon-callow-carol

Simon Callow’s passion for the work of Charles Dickens continued over the festive season just passed, when he bought his solo show A CHRISTMAS CAROL back to the West End.

After sell-out runs in 2011/12, acclaimed by both critics and audiences alike, the brilliant veteran actor and ‘Dickensionado’ once again teamed up with director-designer Tom Cairns to perform Dickens’ own performance adaption of the much loved Christmas novella in a limited run at the intimate Arts Theatre. Described as a ‘one-man theatrical extravaganza of heart warming and deeply moving festive story-telling,’ Simon plays the Victorian author himself, Scrooge and a host of other parts in the 90 minute performance.

“Embody the narrator Scrooge and other characters, Callow whisks the audience away on a journey that makes you feel like you have never heard A CHRISTMAS CAROL before,” wrote George Simpson in the Express.

I meet the charming and charismatic Simon after his matinee performance a couple of Saturdays ago in the small cafe/bar/front of house/box office at the Arts Theatre and he signed this drawing for me.

Drawing: Jim Broadbent as Scrooge

Jim Broadbent

Jim Broadbent, one of Britain’s finest character actors, has returned to the London stage as the seasonal skinflint Scrooge in a new adaption by Patrick Barlow of Dickens’ classic A CHRISTMAS CAROL at the Noel Coward Theatre.

Last seen in THEATRE OF BLOOD at the National, a decade ago, the multi-award-winning actor’s portrayal of Scrooge is more high-spirited than mean-spirited, played with a ‘permanent twinkle in his eye’.

It’s New Year’s honours time and I was reminded of when Jim declined an OBE in 2002, after winning the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as British critic and writer John Bayley in IRIS. He stated that there were more deserving recipients than actors and the British Empire was not something he wanted to celebrate. But he didn’t decline to sign my sketch and, as usual was very gracious at the stage door.