A DRAMA group returned to the stage last night for the first time in two years after the pandemic put a halt on their passion.

Southend Operatic and Dramatic Society (SODS) presented Scrooge! last night and you have until Saturday, November 27 to see it.

The performance was SODS' 100th show at the Edwardian Palace Theatre in Westcliff, held nearly a century after the society’s first production there, and its first show in two years.

The society’s first show at Palace Theatre was the West End hit The Quaker Girl which opened on December 5, 1921.

SODS chairman Chris Iddiols said: “It seems such a long time ago that we did Rent, but like so many other societies, Covid-19 put all our activities on ice.

He added: “It’s packed with great songs, such as Thank You Very Much!, and lots of fun, but also has its darker moments, too.”

The show is based on the 1970 film Scrooge, starring Albert Finney, which was adapted from the classic Charles Dickens’ novella A Christmas Carol.

Written by the late Leslie Bricusse OBE, who also wrote the music and lyrics, SCROOGE! tells the story of miserly money lender Ebenezer Scrooge who is visited by four spirits on Christmas Eve in a bid to get the skinflint to change his ways.

SODS veteran Les Cannon plays Scrooge in the production directed by Jonny Buxton and Maddy Lahna, and choreographed by Sarah-Rose Dunn.

Tickets are available from the box office on 0343 310 0030, or at www.southendtheatres.org.uk.