|Rothschild's Scrooge; realistic portrayal|
The world of UK Christmas panto was rocked this week by news that Jacob Rothschild, the world's richest man (estimated net worth £500 trillion) and also keen patron of the arts, is to play Scrooge at Bournemouth Pavilion Theater throughout the 2017 winter season. As a wizen old moneylender himself the casting had been widely considered insightful, also the trillionaire is rumored to have brought vital funding to the struggling production. However, co-stars Christopher Biggins, The Ghost of Christmas Past and Julian Clary, Bob Cratchit complained after Mr Rothschild demanded changes to the plot as part of his deal which the stars branded 'Not in the spirit of the original' including a new ending in which Scrooge callously ignores the warnings of the visiting ghosts causing the death of Tiny Tim on Christmas Day and a lifetimes indebted servitude for Bob Cratchit and his impoverished family.
The controversy came to a head last weekend when the Bournemouth local press were forced to deny allegations of bias towards Mr Rothschild after unanimously giving the panto's early showing five star ratings when crowds of agitated parents were seen leaving the theater at the end desperately trying to console their distraught children. Representatives of the Rothschild Group rejected claims they had the influence to control the 'boundless integrity' of the Bournemouth press as 'groundless conspiracy theories' but traumatised theatergoers, still capable of speaking after witnessing the show, claimed the new alternative final scene was 'horrific' and described Tiny Tim's coffin being wheeled out whilst Scrooge sings God Bless Ye Merry Gentlemen then tells Bob Cratchit that he must go back to work on Boxing Day because he can no longer rely upon Universal Credit payments as 'the worst moment of their Christmas lives'.
Mr Rothschild defended his changes back in his dressing room whilst enjoying a warm brandy and watching one of his flunkies flog a stagehand, 'Being a moneylender myself, I feel I have a deep empathy with the Scrooge character so, therefore, intuitively understand how he would react given this challenging financial environment. Also, and perhaps more importantly, I am now the main financial contributor to the show and if the director refuses I have him shot. Surely, it is irresponsible to give children unrealistic dreams especially at Christmas, and that is why wealthy philanthropists like myself fund the arts so that, in the end, culture only mirrors the aspirations of the few. For this reason we, by which, of course, I mean I, felt it important to imbue the show with the true spirit of the modern UK Christmas by portraying this classic Dickensian character as the mad man he would be today. After all, just imagine how mad I must be, knowing that every Christmas I could simply give away half of my fortune - (£250 trillion!) much, much more than I, or any other man, or government, or country, or hemisphere could ever spend in a lifetime- to the poor and needy of this world, fully alleviating their abject poverty in one fell swoop and saving most of humanity in the process- but I don't for one good reason. That's right, I'm absolutely fucking mad. Heh, heh. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes - Merry Christmas to you all. Now get out of my dressing room or I'll have you assassinated.'
Julian Clary was typically candid about the fiasco unfolding at the Pavilion Theater and dryly commented, 'This is what happens when you let rich people fund the arts... Look - everything is fine really, pretty much till near the end when you get the feeling everything's not going well when Scrooge asks the boy in the street what day it is and, after telling him it's Christmas Day, he is arrested for disturbing the peace and given a ASBO. But when Tiny Tim's coffin is finally wheeled out and we all shout 'Behind you!' then Scrooge starts singing, the entire audience pull a face like they're shitting out a box of crackers, a slay full of presents and eight prancing reindeer all at once. Not very Christmassy at all really.'
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