SHALEEN Surtie-Richards hasn’t trod our boards since Shirley Valentyn in February last year, but she is finally back, at the Baxter, in Scrooge, romping it up with Marc Lottering, Andrew Buckland and Christo Davids. The production opens on Wednesday and is directed by Lara Foot, adapted from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
“I narrate, I play several characters – I am the spookie of Christmas Present – the nice ghost that eats all the time. I mean do I need that? I eat all the time – I’m always on diet!” chortles Surtie-Richards.
“Lara (Foot) has done an amazing adaptation. It’s in English with bits in Afrikaans and Xhosa. We have an amazing choir with kids of every faith and colour. The great thing is that we all play ourselves – I come on as Shaleen looking for Marx – looking for Andrew – for Christo.”
The action flips between present-day Cape Town and Kanaldorp in 1901. (Kanaldorp was the precursor to District Six).
“We come in and out – talk as ourselves and then we go into our characters.”
Surtie-Richards is keen to dispel the perception that Scrooge is a pantomime. “It’s not a panto. It’s the Charles Dickens classic, but there’s lots of humour and it’s very much for the entire family. There’s lots of fun, enjoyment, emotions.
“The bottom line is that Scrooge is a miser and it’s great to see him turning from a yucky old man into a decent person. He becomes a good person and that is what we want to see. It’s a celebration of the spirit of giving. It’s feel-good theatre – you leave with a feeling of goodwill. It’s magic. I think Marc will change the way Scrooge is seen. He is hilarious and brilliant.”
This is the first time in three decades that the Baxter is presenting its own festive season production and Foot has gone all-out. Nur Abrahams (he was in Radio Classics, Vocal is Lekka) and the terrific Poseletso Sejosingoe (Zabalaza Theatre Festival’s best actress winner and former Idols runner- up) are leading the children’s choir under the musical direction of Camillo Lombard.
Set design is by Patrick Curtis; lighting by Mannie Manim, costumes by Marcel Meyer and magic illusions by Chad Findlay.
The cast will take a breather on Saturday, December 7, when there is a matinee at 3pm but no evening performance: Lot- tering goes into stand-up mode with Marc Lottering’s Comedy Roadshow at GrandWest’s Grand Arena that night.
● Scrooge previews on December 4-9 and opens on December 10. It is on at 7.30pm nightly and 3pm for matinees. Tickets R110-R170 and R180-R200 for New Year’s Eve which starts later, at 9.15pm. All the shows end about 11.30pm. There will be entertainment in the foyer, a balloon drop and a drink for all to celebrate the New Year. The other shows are Platform 9, Wrongly Accused and Nik Rabinowitz. Bookings at Computicket at 0861 915 8000.
A-TEAM: Marc Lottering and Shaleen Surtie-Richards in