A Christmas Carol (Past) A Review
Although now come to an end at the New Vic in Basford, A Christmas Carol is not just ascribed to Christmas. It is well worth watching at any time of year. The timeless five stave novella by Charles Dickens comes to life via a singing and dancing Dickensian spectacular produced by the same creative team behind Alice in Wonderland.
The dark side theme of Victorian poverty and death seemed to consume the opening of the drama which was personified by Marley's death.
Furthermore, the showing seemed to stutter in warming up, with Scrooge seemingly a little over-stern due to slight over-action for his part.
The marionette that was supposedly Tiny Tim (Bob Cratchet's son) diluted the effect which brought to notice that all the children in the cast were female.
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Not to mention the imaginary opening and shutting of doors on set. This prompted a feeling that one had come to the wrong playhouse and 'Vision On' (a British children's television programme shown on BBC1 from 1964 to 1976) was airing instead.
It was the scene from Christmas Past illuminating the character of Fezziwig (Scrooge's former employer) when the performance started to impress.
Thereafter it built up to an enjoyable crescendo.
Timely Christmas carols like 'Ding Dong Merrily on High' intervened through the sequence with a gusto. Sung by the cast via a professional musical accompaniment; it induced heart-warming sentiments for many in the audience.
Moreover, Victorian usages like Munificence and Jiggered peppered the dialogue which engendered a Dickensian flavour to the production.
On the other hand, it appeared that the Ghost of Christmas Present's belly laughs were a trite overdone, although the scene at Fred's house (Scrooges nephew) impressed most.
Topper's lady friend (Fred's wife's sister) took the best acting award for her lively individual performance playing silly parlour games costumed authentically; ringlets and all.
In criticism, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come sequence forgot to feature the wit of the lower classes when dividing up the now deceased Scrooge's possessions.
In the film, huddled harridan old fishwife types cackle and josh at the miser's demise which was always the key scene in the story for many.