JUST when it seemed the tinsel and jingles ended months ago, the festivities were very much alive at Apollo Theatre with Every Christmas Story Ever Told — and then some!

The performance opened with a reading from A Christmas Carol — which swiftly shifted to its comedic promise, with Peter Gale appearing as the ghost of Marley, protesting at having to perform the play.

This was followed by an entrance from Helen Clinton-Pacey, who wore a flamboyant fruit hat, echoing the mantra of Peter's character, John, that he was 'only doing it for the money', suggesting alternative Christmas stories to the performing of A Christmas Carol.

Janice, a Scrooge-like character played by Maggie Cardew, reluctantly agrees to retelling every 'BC' (beloved Christmas) story told in 90 minutes, but with one condition, it includes a performance of the Dickens classic.

Helen, under the spotlight on the podium, shared stories of Christmas traditions from around the world — a decent bridge between scenes.

The trio adopted minimalistic accessories to retell The Grinch, with Maggie giving an excellent performance as the anti-Christmas character, with Sidney Cardew cast as one of the backstage crew, roped into becoming the character, Cindy-Lou.

Other comical re-enactments included Grindolph the Green-Nose Rein-Goat, A Child's Christmas with Whales, the attempted murder of Frosty the Snowman, and the Ryde Christmas parade, which was given a witty spectators commentary.

The interval continued the Christmas theme with mulled wine, mince pies and Christmas cake — which was surprisingly enjoyable in middle of July.

The second half was a humorous retell of A Christmas Carol, to Janice's dismay — complete with a Bob Marley tribute and not-so-tiny Tim, renamed Zu Zu.

Helen did not disappoint with her roles as the ghosts, and Bob Cratchit, father of 137.

To round off the show in style, the 'and then some' part, was a compilation of classic Christmas carols, combined into one song.

The cast were a credit to the cleverly written script.

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