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Monday, 29 November 2021

REVIEW: A Christmas Carol at the Old Vic Theatre

The warm glow of the festive season draws closer as we find comfort in a rich cultural landscape. Most of all we have the flawless beauty of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Written in 1843, there have been countless adaptations for film, TV and the stage; a highly successful musical written by Leslie Bricusse has also been a regular fixture in the West End. This timeless story of hope and redemption is rightly woven into the fabric of Christmas. The Victorians were largely responsible for the traditions we now hold dear; so what could be better than an evening in the company of our favourite curmudgeon Ebeneezer Scrooge! There is an expectation that Old Vic productions will be good, and this one satisfies on every conceivable level.

The Old Vic has a natural glamour and the atmosphere is obvious from the second you cross the threshold; it is the perfect venue for the perfect story. Picturesque lanterns hung from the ceiling offered a lilting glow as a Victorian gentleman handed out free mince pies. The faint sound of a solo violin could be heard as the auditorium gradually filled with expectant patrons. A platform extending from the stage puts the audience very much in the centre of the action. The functional set is brilliantly lit but packs an unexpected surprise for the finale in Act 2.

Wednesday, 10 November 2021

REVIEW: A Christmas Carol at The Nottingham Playhouse

Adapted by Mark Gatiss and directed by Adam Penford this classic Charles Dickens tale is revived once again at the Nottingham Playhouse and spookier than ever. 

Set in Victorian London we are introduced to Gattis’ Jacob Marley and Nicholas Farrell as Ebenezer Scrooge himself. Farrell does a phenomenal job in this iconic role, displaying all the best qualities of a character you will start by hating and leave with a strange love for. His sarcastic wit is refreshing and Ebenezer's transformation is undoubtedly heartwarming. 

The ghosts were diverse and all extremely intriguing, all playing their parts in showing us the past, present and future. Merit to the company that all shone individually and as an ensemble playing many roles between them. Edward Harrison was a particularly lovable Bob Cratchit whilst Joe Shire portrayed a captivating Ghost of Christmas Present. 

Thursday, 31 December 2020

The Best Shows we've seen in 2020!

2020.... well, that happened. 

Its been a rubbish year for our industry, but we mustn't dwell on the negatives! So, we thought we'd collect together our top shows that our wonderful reviews have seen this year! Even though these are our top reviewed shows, we just want to say a huge well done to all those who have been involved in creating content this year, as an industry we have pulled through and proven our place in society. Even if the government still don't value us, we must value one another and we wish everyone the utmost success in the new year! 

Without further ado, let's take a look at some of our top shows from 2020! 

"The whole production is directed with great skill and ingenuity by Shaun Kerrison and backed by some excellent video and graphics by George Reeve projected on the large screen above the band and has the feel of a high production value West End show with great musicality and fresh and lively touches. This is no concert; this is a joyous celebration of musical theatre with a powerful and meaningful message that resonated as much today (perhaps more so) than when Charles Dickens wrote it in 1843. Bravo London Musical Theatre Orchestra. We hope you will return to the stage even stronger in 2021." 

Tuesday, 22 December 2020

REVIEW: A Christmas Carol at the Old Vic (Online)

The Old Vic in London has embraced fully the idea of streaming live theatre with its In-Camera productions and this version of their award-winning A Christmas Carol is thrilling to watch from the comfort of your own home. They fully seize the opportunity with a multicamera socially distanced live performance from the stage of their theatre into your home to give it an intimacy and supernatural feel that is simply brilliant.

Shot with up to 9 cameras at once from the rear of the stage towards the auditorium lit by lanterns hanging from the walls with the band in the Circle and a long walkway towards a bright light at the rear of the empty Stalls it constantly reminds you that this is live theatre, and this is what we are missing. Yet it is slickly and thrillingly edited together using split screens and crossfades of cameras in a highly creative way which gives it a unique feel and brings the actors closer together than they can be in a socially distanced world. The care and attention to this camera plot makes this a masterly achievement and elevates it to a new hybrid art form between film and live performance.

Wednesday, 9 December 2020

REVIEW: A Christmas Carol at the Watermill Theatre

The Watermill Theatre has risen to the unique challenges of programming a theatre and operating it safely in 2020 with an exceptional year mounting five new productions and attracting over 3500 to its tiny venue. The normal capacity of just over 200 has been reduced to just 73 by social distancing and bizarrely you can only drink in your theatre seat and not at a table in the bar under the latest Government regulations but it has navigated these issues with great skill and ingenuity. Bloodshot, Camelot and Lone Flyer provided brilliant memories to the warm welcoming reception you always get there. The Christmas offering is a two handed version of the classic A Christmas Carol adapted for their stage by the playwright in residence Danielle Pearson with a reduced rehearsal schedule and just two socially distanced actor-musicians playing 19 different characters. Could it match the previous outstanding shows? 

Simply staged by designer Isobel Nicholson with dark brick walls with two windows through which shadow puppets are illuminated to add to the cast and a minimum props of a desk (which doubles as Scrooge's Bed), a stool, a ladder and a washing line, the production relies on the two performers to conjure up in our imagination the various scenes. Of course, it is a familiar story with many classic past versions including film versions with Alistair Sims (1951), Albert Finney (1970), and Michael Caine (1992) all playing Scrooge which influence our own imagination as they cast a shadow over any new version. 

Friday, 21 December 2018

REVIEW: LMTO’s A Christmas Carol at Lyceum Theatre

“I’m just not feeling very Christmas-y yet...” (Harriet Langdown, 5 minutes before curtain up)

“MY HEART IS SO FULL. I CANNOT WAIT FOR CHRISTMAS NOW!” (Harriet Langdown, 1 minute after curtain down)

LMTO has done it again. 

This production of A Christmas Carol is a staged concert format, so if you’re looking for elaborate set pieces and fancy costumes, you’re in the wrong place - but if you’re searching for beautiful music played by a stunning orchestra, the best of the West End singing a dramatic score and the most enthusiastic and passionate conductor on the face of planet Earth, you’re in for a winner. LMTO reprise their smash-hit production in the same theatre where they made their debut in 2016, and what a treat it is. 

Friday, 29 December 2017

REVIEW: A Christmas Carol at Middle Temple Hall

No other piece of British literature, tale or urban legend sums up the spirit of the festive season like Charles Dickens's masterpiece novella A Christmas Carol. I went to see this production from Antic Disposition at the Middle Temple Hall on Christmas eve and it has immediately become the cherry on top of my theatrical year.

The venue itself was known to Dickens, who considered pursuing a career as a barrister and had access to the Hall for over 15 years. In those times, the building was already 300 years old and the writer describes its beauty in a chapter of Barnaby Rudge. If this wasn't a good enough reason to pay it a visit, within these very walls, William Shakespeare offered the premiere of his Twelfth Night, and the table where all members sign when they're called to the bar is made of the hatch-cover of Sir Francis Drake legendary ship The Golden Hind.

Surrounded by this magical atmosphere, directors Ben Horslen and John Risebero create an unforgettable experience, dense with the scent of mulled wine coming from Bar Humbug, and sparkling with a cast of stars, led by stage veteran David Burt as Ebenezer Scrooge.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

London Musical Theatre Orchestra's A Christmas Carol at Lyceum Theatre on 11th and 18th December

London Musical Theatre Orchestra brings back their  production of the spectacular concert version of A Christmas Carol, which returns by overwhelming popular demand to the Lyceum Theatre in London after a five-star sell-out performance last year, with two performances of the festive favourite at 7.30pm on 11th and 18th December. Tickets are on sale now.

The cast includes Olivier Award nominee Sophie-Louise Dann (Lend Me A Tenor / Made In Dagenham / Bend It Like Beckham The Musical / The Girls) as Mrs Fezziwig, Glenn Carter (Jersey Boys / Jesus Christ Superstar) as Marley, Nicholas Colicos (Kiss Me Kate / Mamma Mia! / The Producers) as Mr Fezziwig, Rebecca Lock (Mary Poppins / Mamma Mia!) as Mrs Cratchit and new-comer Cameron Potts as Fred Anderson / Young Scrooge.

Alongside these cast members, multi award-winning stage and screen actor Robert Lindsay (Citizen Smith / My Family / Wimbledon / Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) returns to the role of Ebenezer Scrooge. Robert will be joined by Lucie Jones (2017 UK Eurovision entrant / Les Misérables / We Will Rock You) as Emily / the Ghost of Christmas Future, Hugh Maynard (The Lion King / Miss Saigon) as the Ghost of Christmas Present, Gemma Sutton (Gypsy / The Go-Between) as the Ghost of Christmas Past and Olivier-nominee Michael Xavier (Prince of Broadway / Into The Woods / Sunset Boulevard) as Bob Cratchit. 

Thursday, 9 October 2014

DAVID BURT to start as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol at Middle Temple Hall

West End star David Burt has been cast as Scrooge in Antic Disposition’s magical, musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ festive classic, A Christmas Carol, which returns to the spectacular Elizabethan setting of Middle Temple Hall in central London from Saturday 10th to Tuesday 30th December, following a sell-out run in 2012.

On Christmas Eve, the miser Ebenezer Scrooge is haunted by the ghost of his business partner, Jacob Marley. To help Scrooge avoid the ghastly fate that awaits beyond the grave, Marley arranges for him to be visited by three spirits. But can the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come persuade Scrooge to open his heart to the magic of Christmas before the sun rises?

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Ahren’s and Menken’s A Christmas Carol to premiere at the Tabard Theatre

The UK premiere of Ahren’s and Menken’s musical version of A Christmas Carol opens at the Tabard Theatre on the 6 December for the Christmas season. Hard-hearted Ebenezer Scrooge discovers the true spirit of Christmas during one unforgettable night in Victorian London. Visited by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Christmas Yet To Come, Scrooge is taken on a fantastical journey during which he is forced to confront the choices he has made and the lives he has affected. 

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