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Local playwright Jacqui Birnie will bring a new adaptation of the Charles Dickens favourite A Christmas Carol to Mareel’s stage on Friday 18 and Saturday 19 December at 1pm.

The Live@Lunch performance, which follows a sold-out album launch by Shetland musicians Ross and Ryan Couper, will take place in the auditorium for two socially distanced performances. The story has a few twists and surprises along the way and the performance itself will feature only one live actor on stage, with the remaining cast appearing via online filmed interactions.

It’s Christmas in the time of COVID-19 and physical distancing is giving avaricious businessman Mr Scrooge (John Haswell) the chance to be even more mean and antisocial than usual, bullying his hard-pressed employee Cratchit into working through her furlough, and not only refusing his niece’s offer of a Christmas ‘bubble’ but harassing her for rent as well. But a peculiarly persistent (hum)bug in his computer sends him to a series of Zoom meetings where he is challenged by figures from his past, present and potential future.

Jacqui Birnie, who has written and directed the show, said “All of our rehearsals and preparation for the show have been done online using video conferencing, and that has made it possible for us to perform the show in a safe manner”.

She added, “The new 2020 version had to be told in a different way, which has been really great fun to figure out; but it was also really important, especially this year, to respect the meaning behind the original story which feels even more relevant today than ever before”.

A Christmas Carol by Jacqui Birnie takes place at Mareel on Friday 18 and Saturday 19 December at 1pm in Mareel. Tickets (£7) can be booked here, in person at Mareel’s Box Office, or over the phone at 01595 745500.

Mareel Box Office is open from 10am Wednesday to Sunday, and closes when the last film goes in.

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