The setting for this Christmas tale is so ornate and enchanting that it gives the production an air of excitement and sophistication even before the opening line has been uttered.
And, happily, the Antic Disposition team members live up to their surroundings, presenting an entertaining play that observes the traditions of the tale while adding some welcome twists.
Chris Courtenay is particularly impressive as the tortured Ghost of Jacob Marley, and his reappearance when Scrooge is looking back at his doomed relationship with fiancee Belle (Emma Whittaker) is both ominous and poignant.
Of course, the success of a production of A Christmas Carol is largely dependent on the performance of Scrooge, and David Burt fits the bill perfectly. A thrilling combination of bitterness, misery, regret and loneliness, Burt gives Scrooge’s repellent qualities context, quickly eliciting festive sympathy.
Tiny Tim is played by a young boy, and on the press night Theo Williams was excellent – a great singer, who portrays timid Tim with incredible empathy and warmth.
The other cast members have a lot of doubling up to do but they manage the multiple roles expertly. Aided by creative costumes, the variety of characters evoked makes the cast seem larger than it is. Accompanied by live musicians, and including regular musical scenes, this production triumphs in portraying both the merriment and the frightening elements of the story. It is an interpretation that does justice to one of the festive season’s finest tales.
Verdict: Triumphant interpretation of the Dickens classic in a spectacular venue
By Catherine Usher for The Stage