THE quality of the singing of the Christmas carols is worth the price of entry to the Criterion Theatre's offering for the festive season.
As the choir/audience in play, The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen's Guild Dramatic Society's Production of A Christmas Carol (with apologies to Charles Dickens), the choristers provide a fine selection of traditional carols, plus a few updated classics with an Aussie theme.
However, the entertainment provided as a bunch of enthusiastic, but clueless amateurs' battle with the Charles Dickens classic provides an entertaining counterpoint to the fine singing.
The play centres around the character of Mrs Reece, played by Sue Kearney.
A bossy, snobbish Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced 'bouquet') style character, she is intent on the night's performance going ahead, despite the absence of key cast members due to a traffic pile up at Tucabia.
Mrs Reece is the play's narrator, but can't help herself, jumping out of character when things go awry.
Naomi Zietsch delivers a fine turn as the vainglorious Thelma, who of course, has snared the key role of Ebenezer Scrooge.
Tarlinga Logan handles the role of the witless stagehand Gordon with aplomb and Alison Duff as the dim, but keen Felicity and Suzanne Campbell as an arthritic Mercedes, round out the main characters.
But you have to be prepared for plenty of audience participation which can put you into the action at any moment. It's that type of show.
Tonight is opening night, with the proceeds of the night going to Grafton Rotary.
Performances include evening shows tonight and tomorrow, then December 6, 7 and 8. The curtain rises at 7.30pm. There is a a matinee performance on Sunday, December 2 at 2pm.
Tickets to the evening shows are $20, $15 for the matinee show on Sunday and are available from McKimms Real Estate Grafton or at the door if not sold out.