What that means for the narrative is, in truth, very little, minus the very welcome addition of a Greyfriars Bobby story arc that we never knew we needed (but definitely do). The most notable changes though come in the staging, and on-stage scenery. The play features beautiful cut-outs of Edinburgh Castle (which in real life sits a couple hundred metres behind the Lyceum), and the carefully-crafted portrayals of the Grassmarket, Cowgate and the graveyard itself are magical. They pluck you out of your seat and put you a mile or so down the street where the action is happening.
The script receives a bit of a do-over as well. The classic lines all remain (“there’s more of gravy than of grave about you” / “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population” etc), but elsewhere local dialect takes over. For the most part it comes naturally (and makes sense given the Victorian Edinburgh setting after all), though at times, it feels a little on the forced side.
The ghosts of Christmas past, present and future also take on new forms. I was a little skeptical of the Ghost of Christmas Past, whose outfit was an awful lot to take in, but the tartan makeovers of the ghosts of Christmas present and future made them real highlights of the show. The former was fantastical in his omniscience, the latter - without spoiling the spooky surprise - positively chilling.
Crawford Logan was a brooding, stroppy, eventually sympathetic Scrooge who got the applause he deserved. Ewan Donald was also notable as a brilliant Rab Crachit, and Grant O'Rourke, Belle Jones and Nicola Roy drew plenty of laughs in their slapstick roles. O’Rourke as a police constable and Jones and Roy as the duo behind the newly-formed Salvation Army.
Greyfriars Bobby came in the form of an adorable puppet, and was a huge hit with the crowd. Tiny Tim was also a puppet, but I must admit I was less convinced by this. While the ingenuity of the craft is undeniable, Tim is usually one of the most pitiable characters in the whole narrative, and it’s just a little harder to get properly into his storyline when he’s played by a (rather sinister-looking) puppet.
The strength of the story and characters around Tiny Tim meant this didn’t come as a huge deterrent for the play though. Overall, it was an enjoyable if slightly slow first half, followed by a wonderful second half and a euphoric conclusion. A fantastic festive day out for all of the family.