A Christmas Carol, The Old Vic
The stage is simple, engineered awesomely in depth, length and even height with the audience lined up on either side of a runway and on the stage.
Jack Thorne who adapted Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (read review) for the west end and Woyzeck (read review) at the Old Vic has created a fun, lively and friendly adaptation of A Christmas Carol.
It is said that a Christmas Carol is a story that embodies human truth. Indeed Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol at a time when British society had been delving into Christmas traditions that had past, namely Christmas carols. He was influenced and inspired to write the story by experiences from his own past (having to leave school and work at a shoe blacking factory because his father had been sent to debtors prison) and after a visit to the Field Lane Ragged school, an establishments for London's poor and option less children.
A money obsessed miser who rejects and ignores the needy comes face to face with his actions and consequences of those actions, as well as the treatment of those less fortunate are key themes of the story.
“Dickens Valued Morality, but what he really worshipped was merriment- the buzz of making other people happy, of making a moment glow, of dancing a jig for no particular reason” - Micheal Faber
This is true of Throne’s adaption. In the beginning, the atmosphere is gentle, still but deep and heavy. The stage is simple, engineered awesomely in depth, length and even height with the audience lined up on either side of a runway and on the stage.
Clementine’s and mince pies welcome the spirit of sharing and evolvement for all, Christmas Spirit.
Lanterns above the stage light the night sky like stars, lovely choral arrangements taking us to a cathedral like place with the life of a carol service. The crowd of actors create a spectacle whenever they are on stage. The plot moves quickly ushering us through Scrooge’s long night with the arrival of three female ghosts and the story of how Scrooge chose money over love.
The last 15 minutes of the show is a little crazy - involving crowd pleasing audience participation, bright lights and a Christmas banquet in the air but I don't want to give too much of that away. The redemption of Scrooge is thoroughly celebrated onstage and off with an invitation for the audience as we leave.
Info: A Christmas Carol is at the Old Vic until 20 Jan 2018 / book tickets