Despite having being closed early due to Tier 3/4 imposition, I wanted to celebrate this lovely production and the work done on it by director Nicholas Hytner and his creative team, and performers Simon Russell Beale, Patsy Ferran, and Eben Figueiredo.
Together they created the magic of Dickens tale with just the right mix of authenticity, pathos, tech, music and humour. Through a ninety-minute run time we watch the redemption of the grasping moneylender through the intervention of his ghostly visitors.
All three actors conjure up all the parts, save Tiny Tim who is a puppet. The Cratchit children may not be visible on stage, but Ferran’s Bob and Figueiredo’s touching Mrs C fill the void and bring their busy household to life admirably. So, too, the house of Scrooge’s nephew, including a dithery maiden aunt from Beale.
Rose Revitt’s set and Bunny Christie’s framework design work well together to keep the story moving, with fairy lights, chests and desks containing costumes, props and lighting effects, with smoke and effects as needed (Ferran’s Ghost of Christmas Past is illuminated by the light of an iPad).
A complex adaptation from Hytner utilising much of Dickens’s words as narration and storyfilling, guides the change in emotional emphasis, with a strong fidelity to the original text.
Beautifully paced, with Beale making a classic Scrooge and Figueiredo finding hidden humour in both Marley and the Ghost of Christmas Present, it really is a tragedy that this festive show was pulled a month early.
Image credit: Manuel Harlan
For my other reviews of Christmas Carols I have seen this year: