3 stars

This ‘musical play’ is an original adaptation of a well-known and loved novella, thanks to the fresh use of music and direction. The use of carol-singing and handbell performances to break up the well-known narrative play a role in creating a Christmassy and joyful environment on stage, but it is not used as a major component of story-telling as in a musical.

The ambience throughout the play was the most remarkable component of the production. Before the performance had started actors located around the auditorium interacted with the public, handing out mince pies and oranges. During the play fake snow would also fall over the audience and, in a certain scene, even a boy from the audience joined the stage. This execution made it seem as if we were part of the town with a secondary role in the play. Accompanying this atmosphere of inclusiveness was a heartwarming feel created by the lanterns hanging from the ceiling and the music.

As the production was intended for adults and children, it was fun and creative. They rolled vegetables and fruit down from the Dress Circle seats onto the stage using sheets and railed a roast chicken across the stage, creating festive feelings. This was all made possible by the imaginative utilization of the cross-shaped stage.

However, changes in mood as the plot develops were often jarring, especially in the transition from the Ghost of Christmas Yet-to-Come’s visit to the joyous Christmas Day celebrations. The turn in Scrooge’s attitude was also overacted. The performance by Paterson Joseph made him come across mad, which did not emphasise the happiness in the last scenes but rather made it strange and reckless. A less abrupt change would have felt more natural. In general, most of the performances seemed slightly too intense.

Nevertheless, the play was still a good reminder of the kindness, love and generosity Christmas promotes. As reiterated by Scrooge in the play, “Christmas time is a good time; kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time”. Though the feeling of gratefulness was present, it did not do the book justice.