Who doesn’t know the classic tale of Ebenezer Scrooge and the spirits of Christmas past, present and yet-to-come? Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol has been adapted by many a theatre and even Hollywood. We all know the story, but never have I ever come across a Scrooge quite this charming and loveable even. We all feel for Scrooge at the end of any A Christmas Carol adaption as he realises the error of his ways, but there is something about Jim Broadbent’s portraying of the money-hungry, cold-hearted financier.
The new adaption is written by Patrick Barlow and directed by Phelim McDermott at the beautiful Noel Coward Theatre in London’s West End and only ran for a limited season. We went to see it long after Christmas at the end of January so it was interesting to see how the Christmas spirit would carry across to a time we have long forgotten about all the cosy nights with family.
A Christmas Carol at the Noel Coward Theatre is really a play within a play: the stage is set as a Victorian Theatre, visitors to Mr. Scrooge business get covered in fake snow before entering and in the final scenes the cast even makes an attempt to show they know they’ve been in a play all along – which among all the greatness of this play feels very disturbing and like it should not be part of the theatre piece.
The ghosts past, present and future are among my favourite characters of the play. They are beautifully executed both in costume and acting – fending hard to get Mr. Scrooge to realise his ways. Some may take badly the humour that is induced into Dickens’ robust educating tale with his production, but it takes the luring darkness that is expected and makes the audience reassess the meaning behind this age-old story. It is a truly enjoyable and inspiring play and we should hope to see something like this coming to our theatres again for the next festive season.