Scrooge with a twist – I haven’t stopped laughing yet!

This morning I’m finding myself breaking out in to spontaneous fits of the giggles after spending last night in the downstairs bar at the White Rock Hotel belly laughing to the antics of Kate Tym and John Knowles as they served up another slice of The Penny Pincher’s Christmas Carol writes Stuart Baillie.

The pair first put on the show in 2016 and it has been a regular feature of the pre-Christmas festivities in Hastings ever since.

It’s a hard show to define and therein lies its charm. Is it a panto, a comic review, a good old stand-up routine with sketches thrown in? In some respects it’s a bit of them all.

Kate and John are the It’s Not Us Theatre Company and describe The Penny Pincher’s Christmas Carol as a show that puts a spin on the traditional Dicken’s story

John says: “I play Scrooge and Kate plays every other part. You get all the well-known characters – Jacob Marley, Bob Cratchett, the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future… but as you’ve never seen them before!”


Kate says it’s an alternative to the panto, that it’s got some panto elements in it but also has many additional layers and is, “very, very funny.”

And it’s true, it is very very funny and while John is on stage for virtually the entire performance Kate is on and off set changing costume and adopting a new character – and normally a new accent – for every twist and turn of the story.

In to the story of A Christmas Carol Kate and John mix gags about events that have taken place in the town this year and they make local dignitaries and other well know faces from the town the butt of some gentle jokes.

I think I went along expecting the humour to be of the bawdy variety but it was far from it, The Penny Pincher’s Christmas is a genuine family show and there were a few youngsters in the audience laughing along with the rest of us just to prove my point.

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This year the show has been performed in The Albion, at Hastings United Football Club and if you’re quick and there are still tickets available there are further performances at the White Rock Hotel until Monday.

The venues are intimate, John and Kate get among the audience and there is some audience participation involved. The show runs for just over an hour and is a genuine joy to watch. In an era of mass-market, manufactured entertainment it’s just great to see two people so naturally at home in front of an audience putting on a show that is innovative and old-fashioned all at the same time. I don’t think I stopped smiling and laughing from the start to the finish.

Some elements of the show are a little haphazard but intentionally so and its testimony to the skills of the performers that they pull those off with such aplomb.

If there are tickets left and you can make one of the remaining performances please try to se it, if you miss out this year then don’t worry I’m sure public demand will mean The Penny Pincher’s Christmas Carol  will be back again next year and I’ll be first in the queue for a ticket.

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