THE humbug will be flowing thick and fast when a brand-new production of A Christmas Carol comes to Hedingham Castle next week.

The critically-acclaimed Pantaloons Theatre Company are putting their spin on Charles Dickens’ fantastical festive fable.

Cold-hearted, cantankerous, Christmas-hating curmudgeon Ebenezer Scrooge is feeling meaner than ever as the big day approaches.

He's been shunning his only living relative, underpaying his clerk and refusing to recognise the plight of the poor on Christmas Eve.

Scrooge is in for a rude awakening as timely visits from the ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Future try to show him the error of his ways.

But can the mean-fisted miser change before it's too late?

The Pantaloons are an anarchic theatre company who draw on a wide variety of popular theatre traditions, ranging from Italian commedia dell’arte comedy and pantomime to stand-up and silent movies.

They say their aim is to bring a "vital sense of play” back to classical performance.

Previous retellings of classic works of literature have included a contemporary spin on Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, The War of the Worlds, The Odyssey, Gulliver’s Travels, Sherlock Holmes, The Canterbury Tales, Grimm Fairy Tales and many of Shakespeare’s plays.

Adapter and co-artistic director Mark Hayward said he wants the show to be moving as well as amusing.

“This new adaptation is very faithful to the text, but also very funny," he said.

"The trick to not undermining the heart of a book is to try to avoid sending up the text itself and instead focus on lampooning theatrical conventions.

“For this reason we have invented a troupe called the Pantaloons Penny Circus – a ragtag group of Victorian showpeople who, with very limited means, are attempting to stage the Dickens classic – with varied results!”

The group stared life more than ten years ago as an open-air theatre company, busking plays for donations in parks and on the streets, where they developed an attention-grabbing, interactive style.

They have since picked up plenty of loyal followers and a bags of critical acclaim, quickly becoming one of the country’s most prolific touring companies.

A spokesman said: "We aim to recapture an aspect of Shakespeare’s drama which the modern naturalistic theatre has lost – the riotous energy of the clown.

"We have found that tapping into this rich vein of anarchic humour can have a strangely moving and uplifting effect.

"In our theatre, your imagination is just as important as ours. We ask you to become co-creators of the play-world with us."

A Christmas Carol is at Hedingham Castle on Friday, December 6, at 7.30pm.

Tickets are £14 (£12.5 over-65s, £10 under-18s, under-fives free). There is a ten per cent discount on online bookings at