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REVIEW - A Christmas Carol at The Barn Theatre
Christmas has arrived at the Barn Theatre with their final production of the year Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
Many of us will be familiar with the classic tale of Ebenezer Scrooge but this new version written by Alan Pollock breathes new life into the story and delves more into what made Ebenezer into the inhospitable character we have come to know.
The beautiful musical arrangements by Finn Anderson performed by an ensemble cast help to create such a fantastic atmosphere within the theatre walls.
Christmas carols such as In the Bleak Midwinter and God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen are delivered in such a haunting way contrasted brilliantly with such energy filled festive dancing and merriment. This really helps to showcase the differences between a cold and bleak existence at Christmas time compared to how wonderful time spent with family and friends can be.
Patrick Ryecart is the perfect embodiment of Scrooge with his miserly and miserable attitude to any mention of Christmas or a life outside of work but this production brings more humour and satire to his character’s responses which works perfectly in this updated version.
Jonathan Charles as the scarily chained and foreboding Jacob Marley informs Ebenezer of what horrors are to await him. The lighting and smoke effects provide us with such an eerie and frightening encounter.
During his visit from the ghost of Christmas past we get to see Tom Chudley-Evans portraying a young Ebenezer. Growing up Ebenezer was very mistreated by his father and having very few friends he eventually loses out on love and marriage due to his continued obsession with work and money leading us to the Bah Humbug! Scrooge we most recognise.
The ensemble take on a multitude of characters and are a very versatile and talented cast. To go from portraying the poor and sick from the workhouses of Victorian London to the lighthearted fun, all singing and dancing members of the various households was enthralling to watch.
These actor-musicians more than deserved the standing ovation they received from the audience for such a exciting and fresh performance of a Christmas classic.
Tiny Tim is played by three cast members during the show’s run and I was lucky enough to watch Georgia Dibbs in the role. You really can’t fail but to be emotional during her scenes on stage. At one point in the production when Ebenezer recalls the answer to an anagram their moments together and the staging surrounding it are just magical.
Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol remains such a favourite because of its core message of love and friendship. Kindness in the world is needed now as much, if not more than ever and this is why a new version told with a fresh perspective makes it the perfect Christmas theatre experience.
A Christmas Carol plays at The Barn Theatre till the 11th of January.
Photo Credit: Evoke Pictures
The Mystery Reviewer
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