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Review | A Christmas Carol | The Old Vic | 29/11/2022

I'll admit it, I'm not the biggest lover of Christmas (well other than copious amounts of pigs in blankets on the big day). It takes a lot for me to get into the Christmas spirit in the lead up to the day itself. 2017 was a rare exception with Mariah's 'All I Want For Christmas Is You Tour' propelling me into the festive spirit. The question remained; would this show cause another Christmas miracle for me?

Each Christmas The Old Vic puts on its annual production of the Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol, and this year is no different. In fact, it seems now more than ever that staging's of this Christmas staple are popping up everywhere. This version has been adapted for the stage by Jack Thorne and is directed by Matthew Warchus. On Christmas eve Ebeneezer Scrooge is visited by a number of ghosts who want to teach him to embrace Christmas, rather than shun it completely. Luckily, I didn’t need any ghosts to get me in the Christmas spirit with this show.

As you enter the auditorium, you find a long stage going all to the back of the stalls, with seats on parts of the stage and all around. The staging itself is understated yet impressive, with set pieces that are pulled out of the stage. Hanging from the ceiling are lanterns at various heights and mince pies are welcomely passed around. Slowly cast members take to the stage one by one, it was thoroughly festive before it even began!

The cast are remarkable and led perfectly by Game of Thrones star Owen Teale. At the start it is far too easy to dislike Scrooge, but as the story unravels he gradually softens and the audience fall in love with him. By the end he is more excited for the festivities than I was when I got my SNES one Christmas in the 90’s!

The music is sublime, often softly sung with so many of your favourite yule time staples featured. However, my favourite use of music were the times when the cast impressively played tunes with hand bells. It is a joy to listen to and I could have happily sat through many more songs performed like this.

Where the show excels is where it pulls the audience in. The Christmas feast preparation was sublimely done, with people at the top of the house feeling as much part of the proceedings as those sat in the stage seats. Giggles of old and young echoed around The Old Vic as sausages, sprouts and all sorts of (artificial) foods were brought to the stage in ingenious ways. This immersive element was amplified with the most realistic artificial snow you can imagine.

It's safe to say I was won over by this charming show and may have to make a trip to The Old Vic part of my Christmas traditions. You can catch A Christmas Carol until 7th January 2023.

Photo: The Old Vic


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