Review: James Swanton's Ghost Stories For Christmas: A Christmas Carol, York Medical Society, Stonegate, York, 7pm, tomorrow. The Guild of Misrule's A Christmas Carol, York Mansion House, until Sunday, 7.30pm. Box office: 01904 623568 or at

THE week began with the possibility of seeing no fewer than four versions of A Christmas Carol, each distinctive from each other. God bless you, every one of them.

Procter Goblins' raucous Christmas Carol: Office Party concluded with a suitably sore head at The Basement on Monday. Since then, the spotlight has been shared by John O'Connor re-creating Charles Dickens's reading tour of 1858, when he visited York to present A Christmas Carol (see Ela Portnoy's review. left); James Swanton's one-man shows and The Guild of Misrule's two-hander with a two-course meal.

The gothic, cadaverous York actor and writer Swanton has had a wonderful year, playing Dracula on stage and a twilit Lucifer in The Mysteries After Darkin the Shambles Market, and starring in the title role in the film Frankenstein's Creature.

He was the panel's unanimous choice for Outstanding Performing Artist in the York Culture Awards and now he completes 2018 with a week of Charles Dickens's Ghost Stories For Christmas, attired as a "black-clad gatekeeper for all manner of supernatural terrors"in a wood-panelled room at the ever atmospheric York Medical Society headquarters in Stonegate.

Three performances of A Christmas Carol have been complemented by one each of The Chimes (Tuesday) and The Haunted Man (tonight), each an hour long in a remarkable feat of memory by Swanton, the politest of spooky hosts in frock coat, white shirt and immaculately creased dark trousers.

He greeted each audience member most civilly at the door for Wednesday's sold-out show, before dropping into character beneath a funeral director's hat and lighting made gloomier by the chandelier being wrapped in a sheet. To one side was Scrooge's counting-house ledger and a lamp; to the other, a chair. His props, full stop.

"Dropping into character" should really read dropping in and out of myriad characters, as the storytelling Swanton plays narrator and every role from Dickens's story: men, women, children...ghosts et al.

His face is as elastic as his voice in this tour-de-force solo show, where physicality, keen intelligence in editing, dark humour and chameleon acting skills all come into play, allied to his brilliant use of lighting. Good news too: tickets are still available.

The Guild of Misrule's immersive theatre re-telling of A Christmas Carol began eight years ago at the Lamb & Lion Inn in High Petergate. Al Barclay was playing Scrooge that year and he still is in Alexander Flanagan Wright's two hander, replete with parlour games, Christmas songs and a two-course feast.

At the outset, The Guild of Misrule had a different name, Wright had a shorter, less theatrical one, but the boisterous yet poignant format worked back then and it is even better now, Barclay and Jack Whitam have been the Scrooge and Marley double act, under Tom Bellerby's direction, for the past three years in London, and now Wright's show is coming home, much to the actors' palpable delight.

The setting is the grandest yet: the refurbished state room of York Mansion House, where Tuesday's full house was aligned in two long rows, behind a dining table. Barclay and Whitam are a well-grooved partnership, at ease with each other and quick to settle the audience members into playing their part too, several taking on impromptu cameos.

Since the last York staging in 2014, Scrooge now sees his own coffin suddenly exposed emerge from beneath a table cloth in a haunting innovation, while Whitam takes inspired advantage of the large mayoral portraits by conducting a conversation between them with the aid of a torch, flicking the light from one to another,as he puts the wit into Whitam.

Add the interval feast and you will be as gleeful as Barclay's Scrooge gambolling giddily around the St Helen's Square Christmas tree at the finale.