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Showing deeper side of Scrooge; Bah Humbug! character more than cardboard cut-out grump - Polycarpou.

Byline: Diane Parkes

SCROOGE may be the quintessential Christmas killjoy but actor Peter Polycarpou is aiming to bring out a sensitive side to the Bah Humbug! character.

Peter, who takes the part of Ebenezer in a new adaptation of A Christmas Carol which opens at Birmingham Repertory Theatre next week, says Scrooge is a much more than a cardboard cut-out g r u mp.

"He is not a bad person," says Peter, who is perhaps best-known to readers for playing the part of Chris Theodopoulopoulos for five years in the television series Birds of a Feather. "It is not like he is doing anything illegal or nasty.

"He has actually had a very hard childhood, then he falls in love and sees her leave him. In those circumstances he creates barriers against everyone and instead concentrates on business and money. He just wants to be in his own life and be selfish. He does not want to be touched physically or emotionally."

But Scrooge is catapulted out of his cocoon one Christmas when, in Charles Dickens' much-loved story, he is forced to "face reality in the forms of the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. I think children be production "This is quite a dark adaptation," says Peter. "If you think about it, waking up to find a ghost of someone you knew at the end of your bed would be pretty scary." very the very Which is why this Bryony Lavery adaptation carries a recommendation for age sevenplus. "I think small children could be scared," Peter says. "This production is very close to the book, it is very real. All the context of the story is there, the Victorian streets, it is very alive - and it is also quite magical."

Peter, who worked at The Rep in Bryony Lavery's Last Easter two years ago, says he did a good deal of reading round the subject before taking on the part of Scrooge.

small could This "I always tend to do that. I have always liked Dickens' writing but it is interesting to read as much as you can. I find that helps me with playing the character. In this case I want the character to have a lotmore depth to him is to it is and for the audience to understand him."

A Christmas Carol has more than one outing this festive season thanks to the justreleased Walt Disney film with Jim Carrey in the title role - but Peter is keeping well away from the Hollywood version.

"I don't want to see the film as I wouldn't want it to colour my view of the story," he says. "I do like Jim Carrey but I saw the trailer for the film and didn't really like the look of it."

But he is only too well aware that the stage production could gain a new audience because of the publicity surrounding the film. "I was talking to someone the other day who had been to see the film with her family and was saying she was going to get tickets for our show to compare the two. I think there will be people who will be attracted to the stage show because of the film."

TicketInfo A Christmas Carol, *adapted by Bryony Lavery and directed by Nikolai Foster, plays Birmingham Repertory Theatre from November 25 to January 9. Tickets: www.birminghamrep., 0121 236 4455.


Dark adaptation: Peter Polycarpou, who takes the part of Ebenezer Scrooge, in rehearsal for a new adaptation of A Christmas Carol at Birmingham Repertory Theatre

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Nov 20, 2009
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