THEATRE / Pinchy Kobi and the Seven Duppies - Tricycle Theatre, London NW6

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The Independent Culture
This is the story of Pinchy Kobi, told by the Posse, an explosive black theatre company whose Armed and Dangerous shot them to fame last summer. Pinchy is a skinflint landlord who receives a mysterious summons to an empty house and whose life is never the same again. It is Christmas Eve and the house is possessed by seven duppies - ghosts in Limbo who have been promised Heaven if they can save a single human soul. The skinflint landlord is their man.

The Posse interrupt this cutesey morality tale with Afro-pop song- and-dance routines (Victor Romero Evans's singing is silvery smooth) and crisp banter with the audience. But their detailed plotting is slapdash. They abandon the spooky gravity of A Christmas Carol, their source, and clutter Dickens's story with weak devices such as a magic pendant of which the duppies are inexplicably terrified. This has the odd effect of making you love the performers without loving the play. But when the wheels of repentance start turning and Pinchy comes out nice, the sentimental hub of the story glows like a beacon. The Posse add polish with a suitably camp last chorus. It would take a real Humbug not to come out smiling.