Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
A Penny Pinchers Christmas

Kate Tym and John Knowles

A Penny Pincher’s Christmas is a festive fixture on Hastings Christmas calendar!

Kate Tym and John Knowles of It’s Not Us Theatre Company are back for the a third year running with their sell-out Christmas show. “Every year we get requests from our audiences to put it on again,” says Kate Tym, “they tell us it wouldn’t be Christmas without A Penny Pincher’s Christmas Carol and we are more than happy to oblige!” Bevali Francis reports.

I’m not a big fan of Christmas and last year I really was having trouble getting into the Christmas spirit until I went to see A Penny Pincher’s Christmas Carol, the antidote to my bah humbug attitude. The two actor performance is inspired. I laughed all the way through; it’s political wit and double entendres were suitable for children age 6 and adults up to 106 and over! The inventiveness of the costumes and sets are genius and I can honestly say it’s the best Christmas entertainment I’ve been to in years.

“The show is a spin on the traditional Dickens story,” says John Knowles. “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!”

“It’s an alternative to the panto,’ says Kate. “It’s got some panto elements in it… Oh yes it has!… but it’s also got additional layers and it’s very, very funny.”

The show, which is now a firm fixture on the Hastings’ cultural calendar was first performed in Christmas 2016, ended up selling out and being raved about by audience members of all ages. “Some people came and saw it twice!” Kate says. “There’s something in it for everyone – we’ve had an audience that was basically an eight-year old’s birthday party, so all kids – and they loved it and then we have a loyal fan-base of adults who come back every year and tell us they’ve never laughed so much. We love putting on A Penny Pincher’s Christmas Carol, because it’s just such a feel-good show. We love interacting with the audience and we’re just thrilled to bits that people actually want to make it part of their Christmas warm-up!”

Kate and John start additional writing work on the show around October. “Every year we add in new topical stuff which we weave around the existing story… if you live in Hastings or St Leonards, you’re in for a wealth of local laughs as well as other tit-bits that we gather from what’s been in the past year’s news.”

Once they’re into November, prop making and rehearsals start in earnest. “Every year we try to make bits of it bigger and better and different to the year before, whilst still retaining the core story and some favourite bits that our audiences actually want to see time and time again. Plus, Kate’s got to see what other accents she can pull out of the bag – I’m not sure there’s a region she hasn’t covered now!”

John Knowles and Kate Tym

John Knowles and Kate Tym – ‘panto’.

A Penny Pincher’s Christmas Carol is certainly guaranteed to put you in the festive mood and, I’m told, not one person leaves without a massive smile on their face. “We’re putting the show on across three venues this year,” John says. “One-off performances at The Albion in the Old Town and Hastings Football Club and then a run at The White Rock Hotel – we’ve already started selling tickets and several people have told us they can’t wait – and, to be honest, nor can we… it wouldn’t be Christmas for us in Hastings without A Penny Pincher’s Christmas Carol!”

Perhaps the best thing to do is to leave the last word to one of last year’s audience: “It’s not often I laugh all the way through any performance, especially a panto, but this really hit the spot. It’s so polished, so funny and perfectly pitched. I loved the energetic way that John and Kate created all the characters from A Christmas Carol with such economy, using brilliant accents, costume changes, puppets, audience participation. It really cheered me up and geared me up for Christmas.”

Performance Dates
12th December, 7.30 The Albion.
13th December,7.30 Hastings and St Leonards Football Club.
20th- 24th December 1.30 and 7.30pm The White Rock Hotel (downstairs bar)

Tickets cost Adult £12, Conc £9, Carer £5, Family ticket £32 (2 adults 2 kids/1 adult 3 kids) and can be purchased from Brown Paper Tickets:  just type in Penny Pinchers. You can find out more about Kate and John on the following sites:



Posted 14:59 Tuesday, Nov 27, 2018 In: Performance

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