A Christmas Carol
Noel Coward Theatre
Reviewed on Wednesday 9th December 2015
Making his anticipated return to the stage, Jim Broadbent stars as Scrooge in Patrick Barlow's adaptation of A Christmas Carol.
All in all Phelim McDermott's production of Charles Dickens' classic story is pretty harmless, providing the perfect excuse to nibble on mince pies with a glass of mulled wine in hand. The ensemble showcase versatility as they pop up in various roles throughout, occasionally armed with puppets.
Once Broadbent settles into the first few scenes he gives a sturdy performance. Broadbent's Scrooge is a little too nice, it isn't until the final few scenes that he truly excels in the role. I didn't enjoy the 'Oh my goodness we are in a play' comedy which takes over in the second act. The style of McDermott's production is inconsistent - everything is very 'nice' and 'safe'.
The production values are extremely low; the set is noticeably flimsy and, again, the style lacks identity. Barlow's book feels weak in the first act with scenes dragging and the overall structure feeling forced.
Of course, A Christmas Carol is always heartwarming and - if in the right frame of mind - makes a nice family outing. Despite finding various elements of the production disappointing, I still got into the Christmas spirit and left the theatre with a festive spring in my step.
Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)
A Christmas Carol runs at the Noel Coward Theatre until Saturday 30th January 2016.
Please visit www.achristmascaroltheplay.com for further information and tickets.
Photo Credit: Johan Persson