Of decency and timelessness

“BAH! Humbug!” said the man, before his ghosts visited. Photograph courtesy

THERE ARE FEW things as comforting to the heart and soul as a beloved theatre chestnut, coddled by time and roasted with retelling. Radio Sonder Grense brings to its listeners a Christmas gift today, by way of a radio theatre production of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Tale. Penniegryper: ‘n Kersfeessprokie is magicked into Afrikaans theatre for the mind by Aart de Villiers and Don Lamprecht.

And it’s everything that you can expect from this beautiful tale of miserliness to generosity. Fitting comfortably among all the different theatrical and filmic versions of the tale, this take on the character colourfully, yet appropriately, renamed as Ebenezer Penniegryper is a tearjerker and a delight. It’s something to warm the cockles of everyone’s heart, even if – or especially if – you are alone and in isolation this Christmas, with your loved ones only in the reach of the limits of your data.

While the ‘Tiny Tim’ character, Klasie, feels a little too old for the role, in this production, the rest of the work is deliciously intact, with the ghosts that bring warning and horror to an old scrooge on the night before Christmas. Shelve your ‘Bah! Humbugs!’ and have a Christmas that is a harbinger of good for the rest of the year!

Penniegryper: ‘n Kersfeessprokie (Scrooge: A Christmas Tale) is written by Charles Dickens, translated and reworked for radio by Aart de Villiers and Don Lamprecht. Directed by Joey de Koker, and featuring technical input by Mark Jennings and Johan Stassen, it is performed by Ivan Abrahams, Theresa Cloete, Phoebe Cook, Randall de Jager, Neels Engelbrecht, Christo Gerlach, Marilyn Harris, Mario Hoofd, Johan Kleinbooi, Isabella Mostert, James Raubenheimer, André Rossouw, André Samuels, Melanie Samuels, Chris Truter and Edward Turner. Drawing from RSG’s 1992 archives, it broadcasts on RSG on Christmas Day 2020 at midday and is also available on podcast through the radio station’s website:

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