By Pete Donohue

Once upon a time — of all the good days in the year, on Christmas Eve — old Scrooge sat busy in his counting-house. When I took my family to see A Penny Pincher’s Christmas Carol at The Palace on Hastings seafront I promised them it would be a fun night. How fun it was surprised even me, let alone my party and the rest of the audience.

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Conceived, written, produced, directed and acted by the multi-talented local theatrical twosome of Kate Tym and John Knowles this was without doubt the standout feelgood event of the festive season, if not the year. Droll Knowles presented the perfect Scrooge, dour and grey on the outside but with a heart-warming glint of satirical wickedness in his eyes. His up-to-the minute jokes on international, national and local topics had us all rolling in the aisles. And he inspired audience participation to boot.

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The charismatic Tym was far from tiny. A Cratchety (I’ve just made that word up) actor who deserves wider recognition. Playing too many roles to keep count of, her delightful array of international and regional accents was as professionally funny as anything we’ve seen from the likes of Ronnie Ancona, Catherine Tate or Tracy Ullman. And I haven’t even mentioned the costumes, puppets and Barbie dolls.

There are still four performances left to go this season, so if you haven’t seen it yet then get your laughing gear down there tout de suite. As well as hearing a clever gag every five seconds you’ll get a chance to do the conga and even pretend that you’re Noddy Holder.

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