AMID the plethora of adaptations of A Christmas Carol, from Bryony Lavery’s spectacular account at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds to Nick Lane’s children’s show at Hull Truck, here are two one-man shows.

Very contrasting solo shows, it must be said, although both are rooted in storytelling.

James Hyland’s adaptation for the Brother Wolf company finds him retelling Dickens’s Christmas fable from the perspective of Jacob Marley, late business partner of the counting-house miser Ebenezer Scrooge.

Seven years dead, and condemned forever to carry a heavy chain, his Marley emerges through the Studio curtain, bushy bearded, jet-black eyed and his weeds of death caked and solidified, as he struggles to free himself from the chains to recount the redemptive tale of Scrooge.

“Merry Christmas,” he growls, all the world upon his shoulders as he finally breaks loose, settling awkwardly into a seat that will be his only prop.

Whereupon the agile, adroit Hyland conjures everything through movement and voice, playing a multitude of characters in a hypnotic and intensely physical performance that is in turns chilling, humorous, surprising and ever energetic.

Conducted at a cracking pace over 90 minutes, Hyland’s story-telling is thrilling but what marks him out is his skill at distinctive characterisation, both physically and verbally. He spins story and characters alike with such dexterity.

All the while, he goes to the heart of Ebenezer Scrooge, as Marley opens his miserly mind to the importance of love and forgiveness. Task complete, Hyland’s Marley re-links his chains once more and disappears through the curtain in a hubbub of turbulent noise. Powerful theatre indeed.

Chris Cade’s show is on rotation in the Kirkgate street at York Castle Museum a handful of times each day and is full of audience participation as he hands out props, roles and hats to his audience for a 20-minute story, told by Scrooge himself.

Cade, familiar from his shows for visitors to the National Railway Museum, is skilled at distilling the essence of a story and here simple but effective use of costume, doors, street cobbles and a balcony evoke the world of Scrooge, Cratchit and the trio of ghosts. Chocolates, rather than humbug, await for children who participate.

James Hyland in Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, As Told By Jacob Marley (Deceased), Harrogate Theatre Studio, until tomorrow, 7pm; Chris Cade in Scrooge, York Castle Museum, until Christmas Eve, 10am to 3.30pm, daily. Box office: Harrogate, 01423 502116; York, normal museum admission prices apply on the door.