FamilyFestive 15/16MusicalNorth WestReview

A Christmas Carol – Blackpool Opera House

Music and Lyrics: Alan Menken &Lynn Ahrens
Book: Mike Ockrent &Lynn Ahrens
Original story: Charles Dickens
Director: Kyle Davies
Reviewer: Matt Forrest


Panto season is in full swing at this time of year, but fairytales and jolly japes aren’t everyone’s cup of tea so, if you’re looking for something a little different to get your festive juices flowing, then A Christmas Carol at the Blackpool Opera House may be the show for you.

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carolhas made captivating reading for young and old alike for just short of 175 years when the novel was first published in 1843. There have been countless film adaptations of this classic tale, so it’s inevitable that it should receive the musical treatment. The themes of poverty, illness and the financial gulf between the rich and poor running through it were as relevant in the 1800s as they are now.

We are introduced to Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge (Paul Nicholas) and his dutiful employee, Bob Cratchit (Daniel Cane), as they make their way through the streets of London. We get a look into the black heart of Scrooge as he turns down pleas for compassion and charity, all in the name of greed and profit. What follows is Scrooge’s road to redemption as he encounters four spirits who look to save the old miser’s soul before it’s too late.

Nicholas is excellent as Scrooge, relishing the role of playing both and villain and man-reborn, with bucket loads of charisma. He is supported by a good solid cast, especially Tom Bight as the always cheerful Ghost of Christmas Present and the elfin Corrine Priest as the Ghost of Christmas Past. They inject a great deal of fun into what is at times, a difficult subject matter. However, it’s great to see such a hardworking ensemble cast working so hard. The cast contains a lot of child actors who are clearly enjoying the experience and show no signs of nerves.

With such a huge cast, top marks to Jo Mcshane whose choreography is exceptional, especially for the haunting Link by Link and the elaborate and lavish Fezziwig’s Annual Christmas Ball. Kyle Davies direction is solid: he has crafted a fun filled production that will leave you grinning from ear to ear.

Overall, this a great show and suitable for all the family, although the scenes by the graveyard may be a bit too much for very young children. A Christmas Carol would be a great introduction to this classic story for children who are not aware of its charm; it is a fresh take on the story for those who love it as much as I do. Make sure you take your own humbugs… they’ll be none at the Opera House.

Runs until 3January 2016 | Image: Contributed

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