Lockdown review: A Christmas Carol

One highlight of watching streams on lockdown has been the huge amount of theatre for children. Used to storytime on their TV programmes, it seems obvious that moving to an online format is a natural progression.

Fresh from their trilogy of Jan Klussen’s Hat stories for the Little Angel Theatre, the trio of Ian Nicholson (writer, director, performer), Samuel Wilde (designer) and Jon Whitcher (music) have developed a version of the Dickens perennial A Christmas Carol for Polka Theatre.

Screencap from A Christmas Carol

In just 18 minutes, Scrooge moves from miserable miser to reformed character, although obviously key points of the story must be sacrificed. Top marks to Nicholson for bringing Jacob Marley’s troubled ghostly face to life and to Wilde for the beautiful cut-outs of Christmas Past and the Cratchits.

Viewers of a certain age may detect a ghost from their own past in Christmas Present(s), as surely the voice is in homage to the late Roy Skelton’s immortal “Zippy from Rainbow”. This brings a welcome touch of anarchy to an often over-sentimental tale.

Full marks to all concerned for bringing Scrooge’s tale to the Christmas Cardboard Cabinet of Stories. As ever, Nicholson is an engaging performer, aided by Sally Edwards operating the puppets.

Screencap from Polka's A Christmas Carol

With an eye on the environment, the set and props are made from both recycled materials but also the waste from Christmas – wrapping paper, tinsel, baubles, ribbons. Perhaps you could assemble your own Cabinet after a visit from Father Christmas!

If you sign up to Polka’s newsletter by Christmas, you will receive a free copy of this lovely little film – sign up at https://polkatheatre.com/event/a-christmas-carol/.