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Review: A CHRISTMAS CAROL, The Old Vic Theatre

Review: A CHRISTMAS CAROL, The Old Vic Theatre

An irascible Owen Teale takes on the role of Scrooge in the Christmas classic



A Christmas Carol | Old VicThere are surely few less festive places to be than The Old Vic Theatre while Jack Thorne's A Christmas Carol is being staged. From mince pies and satsumas for the audience, Victorian bell ringing, snow falling and turkeys flying from the rafters, is it joyfully reassuring and supremely comforting.

The story is one of literature's most heart-warming stories of love and redemption; a cautionary tale warning against selfish introversion and greed. However, it is incredibly familiar to all and a production has to work hard to bring freshness and relevance. The Old Vic has stuck with Matthew Warchus' production for six years now, even producing a digital lockdown version, using a new face every year for Scrooge.

This year, Owen Teale takes on the role, bringing a renewed sense of the snarling, miserly sinner who is transformed to become almost radiant with joy after being visited by the three ghosts. His glee at parachuting sprouts and endless strings of sausages is infectious.

The whole cast glow with enthusiasm and goodwill, as they deftly cover multiple roles, sing and ring bells with aplomb. Roger Dipper is a particularly affecting Bob Crachit; loyal, diligent and incredible likeable. Melissa Alan returns as a wholesome Little Fan and Lydia White is a measured and dignified Belle. Tiny Tim is an adorable Casey-Indigo Blackwood-Lashley (one of four young actors in the role).

Despite having seen the show every years since it began, it still looks as beautiful as ever. Rob Howell's design remains visually captivating, particularly Scrooge's threadbare pink floral coat and the empty door frames that rise up and sink down into the stage. Hugh Vanstone's plethora of hanging lanterns and uplighting from below the stage floorboards create incredible atmosphere and a suitably haunting effect.

Katharine Wooley's assured musical direction is integral to the success of this production and retains the magic and nuance of previous years.

With productions of A Christmas Carol on every corner, The Old Vic can be confident that this one will bring the audiences back year after year.

The Old Vic is raising money in aid of City Harvest. City Harvest is a surplus food redistribution charity, providing 1.2 million meals a month. They re-distribute food - that would otherwise go to waste - to grassroots organisations that feed some of London's most vulnerable people.

A Christmas Carol is at the Old Vic Theatre 2022 until 07 January 23

Photo Credit: Manuel Harlan


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