PotatoRoom productions

created by Gavin Glover formerly from FaultyOptic Theatre of Animation



National Theatre of Scotland A Christmas Carol 2009-2012
adapted by Graham McLaren.
Puppets designed, constructed and manipulation directed by Gavin Glover

"One of the classiest pieces of theatre to have been staged in Scotland, not only in the winter season, but at any time of year." Daily Telegraph*****

**two Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland (CATS) - Best Production and Best Ensemble


  jacobMarleyJacob Marley  

Christmas Future

Xmas Future xmasfuture

  Xmas PastChristmas Past xmaspast  



Young Scrooge and Belle
Ignorance and Want
Christmas Present
Bob Cratchet
Tiny Tim

  Total of 17 leather puppets designed and constructed by Gavin Glover
Costumes by Toztli Godinez de Dios




Guardian newspaper review

Benny Young in A Christmas Carol. Photograph: Peter Dibdin

Wicked witches and angry giants may be stalking stages across the land, but none can be as terrifying as the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future that haunt this tremendous adaptation of the Dickens novella.

The first venture into the seasonal market by the National Theatre of Scotland, Graham McLaren's production begins in an atmosphere of prank-playing jollity as the cast welcomes us into the offices of Scrooge and Marley, tearing up our tickets and showing us to our seats, but switches into the realm of gothic horror once it's time for Scrooge to face his demons.

Performed in a small room in the former Govan Town Hall, the walls stacked high with ledgers and scrolls, the show brings us distressingly close to the story's terrors. Benny Young makes an austere Presbyterian Scrooge, gaunt, grubby and humourless; the last man you'd ever feel sympathy for. Yet when Gavin Glover's superlative puppets magically appear through the apparently solid walls of the set, they have such a fearsome, otherworldly demeanour, you can only feel for the guy.

The spirit of Jacob Marley, manipulated by three of the five-strong ensemble, is a rasping, skeletal creature, wrapped in bandages that seemingly stretch down into the underworld. Accompanied by a rumbling live score by Jon Beales, his is the first of a series of visitations: a floating, ethereal Ghost of Christmas Past; a towering, silent Ghost of Christmas Future; talking shadows on the walls, and a sad vision of a blue-faced Cratchit family.

It is rare to see horror so intensively evoked in the theatre, but it's not only for effect. Rather than being a sentimental portrait of a man who doesn't like Christmas, this is an evocation of an unjust society – the true horror of Dickens's tale – and a powerful broadside against anyone who thinks there's no such thing as society.




The Telegraph

A Christmas Carol, Film City, Glasgow
Mark Brown reviews the National Theatre of Scotland's delightfully comic and boldly grotesque A Christmas Carol at Film City in Glasgow.

The National Theatre of Scotland (which celebrates its sixth birthday two months from now) has hitherto preferred not to stage a Christmas show. Apart from the threat which an NTS production might have presented to the ticket sales of some of the country’s biggest theatres, where would the company (as a self-proclaimed “theatre without walls”) have staged a yuletide presentation during the busiest month in the Scottish theatrical calendar?

Both problems are solved with Graham McLaren’s remarkable staging of Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. Seating an audience of just 90, the NTS’s first Christmas show is hardly going to steal audiences away from Scotland’s major playhouses. Playing in a fabulous, purpose-built studio (which depicts, in brilliant, gothic detail, the interior of Scrooge’s counting house) at the Film City production centre (formerly Govan Town Hall), it is not appearing at the expense of any other Christmas show.

McLaren (who directed the NTS’s recent and deservedly acclaimed production of the Ena Lamont Stewart classic Men Should Weep) directs and designs this Christmas Carol with a wonderfully complete vision. From the ghost-like, painted faces of the various Victorian characters (from outraged Salvation Army charity collectors, to the wretched Scrooge himself) to the apparitions which plague the miser’s mind (a series of astonishingly inventive puppets, designed and made by Gavin Glover), every aspect of the piece contributes perfectly to its irresistibly magical atmosphere.

A talented cast shift deftly from playing the supporting characters to operating the puppets; giving great physical and vocal expression to, for instance, the ethereal, girl-like Spirit of Christmas Past, the avuncular Spirit of Christmas Present (who hails, somehow appropriately, from Yorkshire) and the deathly Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come. As they do so, Benny Young offers a clever and witty portrayal of Scrooge as a resolute misanthrope who is genuinely tortured by the ghostly visions which haunt him.

The all-important atmosphere of the piece is assisted beautifully by tremendous live music (played by its composer Jon Beales) and premonitory sound (by Matt Padden). Paul Claydon’s excellently responsive lighting illuminates the action, and McLaren’s fantastic set and costumes, in a manner which is unerringly Dickensian.

By turns delightfully comic and boldly grotesque, the NTS’s first Christmas show deserves to be remembered as one of the classiest pieces of theatre to have been staged in Scotland, not only in the winter season, but at any time of year.