Writer: Charles Dickens
Adaptor and Lyrics: Ben Horslen and John Risebero
Musical Director: Carôle Carpenter
Director: Ben Horslen
Reviewer: Jenni Rymer
Christmas has most certainly arrived in the form of the Antic Dispositions’ production of Charles Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol.’ The production is set in the beautiful surroundings of Middle Temple Hall, a venue full of literary history. It played host to the first ever production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night in 1603, and later became an integral part of Dickens life as his career in law won him admittance to the hall as a student in 1839 until 1855, a period in which he produced some of his most famous stories, including the subject of this review; ‘A Christmas Carol.’
The history and beauty of the location in which this production is performed contributes greatly to its success. The theatre begins before you even arrive as the journey to the hall leads you down the ancient cobbled back streets of London, past the glistening Christmas lights that line the Embankment to a venue oozing in history that has been decked with traditional festivities. Every sense takes you back to Dickens London at Christmas time.
With such an inspired setting expectations are high, and I am pleased to report that they are met. The company not only match the magical atmosphere created by their stage but they exceed it. The production is filled with adaptations of classic Christmas Carols to compliment the narrative that leads you on your journey through this amazing rendition of this much loved tale
The actors capture the essence of the play with aplomb bringing an intimacy to the piece that is very rare. Holding it all together is Tony Bell as our protagonist Ebenezer Scrooge. He absorbs the character brilliantly delivering emotions of anger, fear, and eventually love that transcend into the hearts of the audience. His supporting cast must also be applauded for their character portrayals as they bring history alive before your eyes
It is clear that every detail has been carefully considered and rehearsed. The costumes are wonderful, the lighting enhances the overall mood throughout, the staging and choreography is outstanding…. All in all this is a wonderful and professionally conceived piece of theatre that is a treat to watch. If you’ve had a hint of baa humbug this Christmas head down to Middle Temple Hall for a big slap of festive cheer, you won’t regret it.