BWW Review: A CHRISTMAS CAROL, Lyceum Theatre

Fresh from their triumphant staging of Rodgers and Hammerstein's forgotten musical State Fair at Cadogan Hall last month, the London Musical Theatre Orchestra (LMTO) set their sights on the West End for their latest project.

Despite being a decade-long tradition in New York, Alan Menken and Lynn Ahrens' musical adaptation of A Christmas Carol had never previously been staged in London. Based on Charles Dickens' classic novella, the story we all know and love is brought to life with a thrilling score. This week LMTO brought the musical to the Lyceum Theatre (home of the West End production of The Lion King) for a one-night-only concert staging.

It was an absolute treat to sit in the circle, peering down at the most phenomenal 32-piece orchestra. Whilst it's not my all-time favourite Alan Menken score, some musical numbers sounded absolutely glorious as the orchestra filled the theatre. LMTO have certainly found another forgotten musical - I didn't recognise a single song in the entire score.

Leading the cast was West End veteran Robert Lindsay as Scrooge. Lindsay always takes to the stage with such charm; he's the perfect fit for Scrooge so it came as no surprise that he pulled off the role. It was wonderful to see Lindsay reunite with West End regular Alex Gaumond as Bob Cratchit - the duo previously appeared together in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

The evening's standout performance came from Carrie Hope Fletcher (as Emily), whose vocals soared alongside the orchestra. Hope Fletcher shared the stage with her sister-in-law, Giovanna Fletcher, who made her professional concert debut as Mrs Cratchit. The role may have been small, but Fletcher's performance was endearing.

We really were treated to top West End talent; the supporting cast included the likes of former Evita Madalena Alberto as The Ghost Of Christmas Past, Norman Bowman, who played Jacob Marley fresh from appearing in Murder Ballad, as well as Peter Polycarpou and Gina Murray as Mr and Mrs Fezziwig. All four gave outstanding performances, alongside John Addison as Fred Anderson. Also in the cast was Miss Saigon alum Hugh Maynard, who showed off some killer vocals.

It's always impressive to see how much can be achieved for a one-off concert staging. There were only minor mistakes; occasionally soloists seemed out of time with the orchestra, and towards the end of the night Lindsay lost his place in the script but dealt with it hilariously - providing one of the evening's highlights.

The LMTO are fast proving themselves as ones to watch. Their staging of A Christmas Carol provided a night to remember!

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From This Author Andrew Tomlins

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