Wednesday, 2 December 2009

A Christmas Carol - Birmingham Rep

A Christmas Carol
by Charles Dickens
Adaptor: Bryony Lavery
Music & Lyrics: Jason Carr
Director: Nikolai Foster
Reviewer: Rob Yates
A Christmas Carol is a classic christmas show and this adaptation is no different. Although it often features on the family circuit I would hesitate to take a young child (under 5) to this production. As a story essentially about Ebeneezer Scrooge's dreams with three very different spirits there are some dramatic scenes throughout.

The musical is ably narrated by a group of spirits who move keep the story moving forward at a steady pace. They are evident in many scenes as Scrooge meets Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas yet to come.

Brilliant choreography from Nick Winston ensured each scene that Scrooge experienced had a different dynamic and feel. Ranging from the quiet and simple choreography of christmasses past to bright elaborate dances associated with christmas present.

With some very good use of props and the space provided by a large stage each dance had a unique character that added to the story and the composition that it supported. For the performance on this night Poppy Tierney was brilliant as both Lydia Cratchit and Mrs Dabchick as she stood in for Rosalie Craig.

The performance that most caught the eye though was from Carl Au who stared as Nephew Fred, Fiver and one of the ghosts. In particular his performance as a ghost was most dramatic, and it was no surprise to read he is an accomplished dancer.

The set was clever while having all the necessary parts to ensure the scene was obvious it was often a minimalist set, with just a bed being sufficient to set the scene of Scrooge's bedroom. This was contrasted by large screens and elaborate decoration, the devil being in the detail. A clever revolving stairway functioned as Scrooge's office, and with the narrator ghosts functioning as stage hands it was easy to create two scenes one for the back and one for the front of the office.

Its no surprise that this show is clearly a family Christmas favourite especially with such a welcome ending. For an evening of high quality family entertainment it is definitely worth a visit to A Christmas Carol. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Photos: Manuel Harlan
Runs until 9 Jan 2010
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