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A Christmas Carol – Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds

Writer: Charles Dickens

Choreographer: Christopher Moore

Music arranged by: Simon Paterson

Reviewer: Flip Miller


Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is probably the best known of his novels. So what better way to celebrate the 200th anniversary of his birth than with a ballet where the story is well known?

The story is about the miserly Scrooge who on Christmas Eve is visited by his old business partner Jacob Marley who has been dead some seven years. Jacob’s arrival is preceded with a spine chilling clanking of chains. He warns that Scrooge will be visited by three ghosts who we know as The Ghost of Christmas Past, Present and To Be.

The story is an insight into why Scrooge became the person he is today. His broken engagement to the beautiful Belle appears to be the catalyst. The romance played out by young Scrooge and Belle is so poignant and acted so well. You really do believe these talented dancers could be in love.

With all the action happening in front of him Scrooge had the least dancing to do but what he did was magnificent. His lifts were good. He played the character well. One thing to note was the amount of powder in his hair which needs to be reduced. Every time he did something energetic his hair would emit a puff of powder.

The costumes designed by Daniel Hope and Christopher Moore are wonderful. In particular, the Ghost of Christmas Present’s costume deserves a mention. The colours are so vibrant and festive. They clearly contrast with The Ghost of Christmas to be. The future story is much darker than the previous ghosts and the costumes and lighting reflect this.

The set was minimal leaving plenty of room for the dancers to move around the stage. They used the space to its maximum effect. The wooden parts of the set were a little shaky but they were light enough to be moved quickly to move the story on.

Ballet Theatre UK does exactly what it says on the tin and combines theatre with ballet. All the actors act their parts as well as dancing with precision. Even the chorus parts have a story to tell. The dancers appear to share rôles and so to check the programme for who played whom was difficult. However, all the dancers danced well and should all be commended for their performances.

The Cratchit children are taken from the local stage school Stagecoach. The company take children from the local stage schools from where they are visiting. This is an excellent idea and gives children an opportunity to work alongside a professional company. They were guided, ever so subtly, around the stage by the dancers and performed their parts superbly.

What a beautiful end to Dickens’ 200th celebrations and a wonderful prelude to the Christmas festivities.

Runs: Until 21st November then touring nationally


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