Sunday, 20 December 2020

REVIEW: A Christmas Carol: A Binaural Audio Experience

A pantomime audio adaption of A Christmas Carol featuring songs, buried treasure, a message from hell, pantomime aspects and Daisy the cow? Oh my! 

This adaption of A Christmas Carol follows Rosie (Keira MacAlister), a young woman of vague age, who goes to visit her uncle Edward Scrook (Zach Pierce) in his dark, cold house in a regional part of the U.K by the sea every Christmas. Edward, who made his fortune selling a fake ‘cure all’ medicine with partner Daniel McGloyne, hates Christmas and hates guests even more. He does, however, love money and spends his nights searching for the buried treasure his stingy ex partner hid beneath the sand. 

After Rosie goes to bed on Christmas Eve night, Scrook receives a surprise visit from his former partner who, fresh out of hell, tells him to change his ways to avoid a similar fate. Undeterred, Scrook take his metal detector outside for another spot of treasure hunting - and finds more than he bargained for. 

This is an audio performance where the only visual is a steam punk style gas mask surrounded by festive flora. It is a little strange to hear some of the more pantomime parts of this performance narrated as I sit alone eating a mince pie, but the layers of audio - ghostly singing in the background, the sound of the sea, the background noise on a train, even the air blowing on a lonely beach - are impressively detailed and high quality. It’s really easy to visualise the setting despite the lack of visuals.

This version of A Christmas Carol is different in a good way. The story is innovative, it’s fresh and yet it’s close enough to the original to put us in that familiar Christmassy spirit. Keira (Rosie) gives a touching performance and makes us feel part of the show by talking to us directly and explaining the surroundings, Harry Brewer (Daniel McGloyne) steals the show despite his lack of air time as Scrooks deceased partner, and Zach (Edward) is suitably angry and bitter. Turning Scrook into a dodgy medicine seller was a clever move in current times. The ghostly carolling in the background adds a sense of genuine eeriness. 

This modern-ish retelling of A Christmas Carol has some laugh out loud moments, but it is also quite touching and stays true to the timeless message of this story. This medium of storytelling may not be what we’re used to, but it’s well worth a listen.

Review by Sophia Moss

Rating: ★★★★

Seat: N/A | Price of Ticket: Free
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