Winner of five Tony Awards, the smash-hit Old Vic production of Charles Dickens’ immortal classic A Christmas Carol is back!
Conceived and directed by Matthew Warchus (Matilda the Musical) and adapted for the stage by Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child), audiences will be welcomed into an immersive experience, brimming with music and merriment, featuring 12 heart-warming Christmas carols.
A Christmas Carol tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly and cold-hearted man visited by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come. Through these spectral visits, Scrooge undergoes a transformation, learning the value of compassion, generosity, and the true spirit of Christmas, ultimately leading him to embrace kindness and goodwill towards others. The show played to great acclaim last year, and has once again returned to Melbourne’s Comedy Theatre for the upcoming festive season.
In the dual role of Scrooge’s Father, and his former business partner, Marley, is Anthony Harkin.
Anthony’s extensive theatre credits include Kinky Boots (Michael Cassel), Neighbourhood Watch (Melbourne Theatre Company), The Sound Of Music (Gordon Frost), Next to Normal (Hayes Theatre), Jersey Boys, Rock of Ages (New Theatricals), Twelfth Night (MTC), Packer and Sons (Belvoir), Gypsy (Hayes Theatre), Shane Warne the Musical (Token Events), Miss Saigon (Miss Saigon Australia), Cabaret (IMG and Japan and Korea Network Tours) and A Month in the Country (Sydney Theatre Company). On screen Anthony has appeared in Young Rock, The Alice, All Saints and in the feature films The Bet and Right Here Right Now. Anthony also co-wrote and directed Dedications which toured nationally to critical acclaim.
Can you tell me a bit about your background with performing?
Anthony: I played the piano and sang since I was a little kid. My oldest brother was really my inspiration – I watched him star in the school musicals and just idolised him. I thought maybe I’ll give it a go. Then he went to WAAPA, so I went to WAAPA. The rest is kinda history. He’s a doctor now, so our paths have diverged but he was definitely the reason I got interested in performing.
What is the most challenging part of playing a dual role?
Anthony: I think the most challenging part is also the thing that makes is so rewarding and that’s finding different vocal, physical and energetic centres for the characters. Of course you build it from the text up and Jack’s adaptation is exquisite. Makes the job a lot easier when there’s wonderful clarity in the writing. Uncovering the reasons for the specifics of the way they speak or move from the environment of the script is a wonderful process of discovery.
Do you see any of yourself in either of your characters?
Anthony: Well, I play some pretty dark characters in the show – a ghost doomed to wander the spirit realm for eternity and an alcoholic bully of a father, so it’s definitely a fascinating question! But I think you always have to dig into those corners of yourself to serve the truth of the character and the piece. So yes, definitely there are parts of myself in there. Marley’s desperate hope and drive to help his friend change for the better is certainly a pretty universal feeling.
Why do you think audiences still love the story of A Christmas Carol?
Anthony: It’s the ultimate tale of redemption. A reminder that change is something within all of us. Something that’s always on the table as an option. It’s wonderful to feel that sense of hope that we can all become better versions of ourselves. Also it’s a show about community. Seeing people as equals, worthy of respect and care and this production really leans into that in the way the piece is performed. By the end of the evening there is a palpable sense of community that has been formed with that particular nights audience. It’s a very special show in that way. The sum of it’s parts adds up to something hard to explain but easy to feel. I suppose it’s joy and that’s what Christmas is all about.
A Christmas Carol is playing now at Melbourne’s Comedy Theatre to Jan 7.
For tickets and more information, visit christmascarolaustralia.com.au
Header image by Jeff Busby