Music: Alan Menkin
Lyrics: Lynn Ahrens
Book: Mike Ockrent & Lynn Ahrens
Director: Karen: Partington
Reviewer: Alisha McCracken
A Christmas Carol The Musical is getting its North West premiere during its run at the Royal Court and is the first production from Wirral based BOST since the departure of long-standing, critically-acclaimed and award-winning director Elsie Kelly.
Alen Menkin (The Little Mermaid, Sister Act) and Lyn Ahrens’ musical retelling of Charles Dickens’ yuletide tale of forgotten pasts and haunting redemption, stays ever so close to the original novella and provides a charming, if not totally exciting pathway to the upcoming winter festivities.
Much like the musical itself Karen Partington’s production is certainly a production of two acts, Act 1, gets pushed aside for a more energetic and altogether more rounded Act 2. Tony Prince’s portrayal of the melancholic Ebenezer Scrooge goes through a similar trajectory, he takes his time to really find his stride and the one-dimensional aspect of the character feels rather flat and lacklustre in the first half, but really comes into his own and finds a depth of character much more befitting of his known talent in the second.
Act 1 is saved by a couple of excellent performances, Chris Simmons (Mr Fezziwig) and Rebecca Nielson (Mrs Fezziwig) steal the act with larger than life performances as the host and hostess with the best party in town. Younger company members Cole Boon (Ebenezer age 12) and Maya Rugen (Fan) give a sensational rendition of A Place Called Home (Part 1) showing confidence and talent far superior of their young age.
Things are certainly lifted in the second act from a strong performance from Michael Pearson as The Ghost of Christmas Present, full of life and energy which brings about a tangible shift in tone and energy for the whole time he is on stage.
The show isn’t without its technical difficulties, which one is sure will be ironed out as the show finds its feet over the next few shows, but when the music is often louder than the dialogue or sung lyrics and you miss vital moments due to microphones not being on then things do need to be readdressed quite quickly.
The company really excel through Sarah Walker’s excellent choreography, her ensemble are always engaging and bring something truly unique to the stage. It’s clear BOST take dance just as important as every other aspect of a production, something lots of Am-Dram companies could take note of, in a musical its just as important to tell the story as the book or the music.
BOST have, and always will be a company with huge ambition and that has to be applauded, its just a shame that A Christmas Carol doesn’t bring the same level of quality as previous productions Sweeney Todd, Oliver and Hello Dolly have provided.
Runs until 10 November 2019 | Image: Contributed