IF billed as a "fun, interactive, musical retelling of this classic story with just a little bit of silliness – and Scarborough – thrown in", then A (Scarborough) Christmas Carol can only be the new Nick Lane show.

When it comes to silliness, Lane is streets ahead, and never more so than in the Doncaster playwright's Christmas plays, as Stephen Joseph Theatre audiences will recall from last winter's Pinocchio.

This is the fourth and definitely the most unconventional account of Charles Dickens' festive favourite your reviewer has seen this season, and after the Dickens film The Man Who Invented Christmas, here comes The Man Who Reinvented Dickens.

The show is part Christmas play, part pantomime, or "pantoesque", as Stephen Joseph Theatre artistic director Paul Robinson calls Lane's hybrid, which is full of both visual and verbal wit, provides amusement for children and adults alike and skilfully interweaves chaos with pathos and clowning with more serious social concerns.

York Press:

Spooked: Joey Hickman as Scrooge in A (Scarborough) Christmas Carol. Picture: Tony Bartholomew

Above all, Lane has never lost the imagination and cheekiness of a child, but then applies them with his superlative playwriting skills, creating freshly minted versions of familiar stories. In this case, he has come afresh at a story he first performed solo with puppets at Hull Truck in 2000.

This time he has created an actor-musician version with "a funky twist" for a cast of four who play characters you won't find in Dickens' tale and plenty more you will in a Lane story that takes in a time worm, rattling chickens, finger-puppet children and a woman with a walnut for a head.

The twist is that Lane's quartet of storytellers are four servants released by Scrooge on Boxing Day. All are wearing brilliantly witty variations on black and white (well, it worked for Cecil Beaton in My Fair Lady) in Helen Coyston's fabulous, playful design, led by Joey Hickman's fastidious, killjoy butler in dogtooth check tails and correspondent's brogues, who soon finds himself playing Scrooge.

Elliott Rennie, such a hit in Pinocchio last Christmas, now plays dogsbody Pod; Alicia McKenzie is chambermaid Clara Winks and Anne-Marie Piazza, the cook, Mrs Grubb. All manner of roles come their way, from Rennie's Marley to the Cratchits and assorted Ghosts of Christmas, and the playing from start to finish is gloriously inventive, funny and multi-skilled.

York Press:

Comic tour-de-force: Anne-Marie Piazza somehow playing all the Crachit family on Christmas Day. Picture: Tony Bartholomew

Two scenes work especially well, the first requiring an increasingly exasperated Piazza to play all the family around the Cratchit Christmas table, moving ever faster among puppets improvised from kitchen utensils as she argues with herself in a whirl of wool.

The second is, frankly, comic genius, as Lane turns the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come into a surly teenager in a tinsel-fringed hoodie who communicates only by teen text message. The interchange between Rennie's slump-shouldered teen and Hickman's bewildered Scrooge brings the house down.

Lane's "Christmas craziness" also takes in a Ghost of Christmas Past who shows Scrooge the wrong past, and all is brought to life with Robinson's smart, humorous direction, maximising all the mayhem, merriment and not a little mystery. To top it all off, Scarborough-raised West End composer Simon Slater's music and lyrics are of the highest quality, Rennie's hoodie rap a particular favourite.

Children will love it, adults who never quite grew up might well love it even more. So might producers, who will surely snap up Lane's script for other (non-Scarborough) theatres next winter, tweaked for the location.

A (Scarborough) Christmas Carol, The Round, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, until December 31. Box office: 01723 370541 or at sjt.uk.com