Review: Scroogelicious, Theatre Peckham

Review: Scroogelicious, Theatre Peckham

Review: Scroogelicious, Theatre Peckham

This year’s Christmas show at Theatre Peckham is honestly pretty unique.


This year’s Christmas show at Theatre Peckham – a brain-child of the AD Suzann McLean and playwright and actor Geoff Aymer – is honestly pretty unique. Especially given that there are some 10 renditions of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol this year in London for your viewing pleasure. But this show cuts it – not your usual panto and not a serious show, either, it is a rapping-break-dancing-anti-gentrification tale both relatable and amusing.

Meet Ebony Scrooge – younger and hunkier than Ebenezer and even appreciative of Christmas somewhat – at least of the commercial aspect – but a miser nevertheless. So much so that his employee has to get a second job to subsidise her meagre income. He also entertains himself by gentrifying Peckham. That is, until a ghost of Marlene, his mentor and employer, pays him a visit, urging him to change his ways at once. And thus, three ghosts take him on the journeys to Christmases past, present and future… 

The concept that Scrooge’s horrible demeanour and avarice have consequences far beyond his immediate family is genuinely brilliant. He’s not just a greedy shop owner – he’s a developer keenly interested in misplacing the poor, going as far as referring to a homeless man as “it.” 

What is quite special about Scroogelicious, even by the standards of community theatre, is the level of involvement of the young amateur cast from Theatre Peckham’s Academy. They’re the ones who make the show. The skilful direction by McLean provides young actors with just enough guidance to channel their energy to go down a creative storm with the audiences. The standouts of the Cyan company I saw (there’s also Aqua) included Flo Swann as Scrooge’s niece, Yasmin – a fabulous singing voice – Kaiya Ashitey as Roberta, Scrooge’s employee – wonderful sensitivity – and Jude Ugbene as young Scrooge – outstanding stage presence.  

The professional cast is wonderful. KM Drew Boateng is a magnetic triple threat with something of a larger-than-life personality. Tomi Egbowon-Ogunjobi, Ellie Clayton and Siphiwo Mahlentle as ghosts are all appropriately different, fun, dramatic and more-than-slightly flamboyant. Gustavo Silva Navarro makes a hilarious appearance as ballet-loving halal butcher Uzman.  

Songs are all catchy and good fun, with surprisingly brilliant lyrics and a variety of styles. There’s traditional musical theatre songs, a bit of old-school soca, a bit of hip hop and even some R&B. 

Between suspension-of-disbelief kind of costumes, imaginary apartments and lack of any special effects, the budget for this show was clearly tight. Which didn’t stop Suzann McLean and Geoff Aymer from creating a feat of creativity – a show full of heart.

Theatre Peckham, until 23 December

Image: Ebony Scrooge played by KM Boateng and Chris Prezzie played by Ellie Clayton – (c) Lidia Crisafulli