Writer: Charles Dickens
Director: David Nixon
Reviewer: Lu Greer
Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is a story that we hear every Christmas in all manner of different forms, and in all kinds of interpretations. Chances are there’s not a single person attending the Northern Ballet’s version of the story, who doesn’t know of Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim and the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, which could potentially give the cast somewhat of a problem. Having such a well-known story to tackle means that creating a version which is interesting, let alone one which offers something which hasn’t been seen before, can be an insurmountable challenge. It is a challenge however which the Northern Ballet Company tackles rather successfully, and does so with poise, grace and finesse.
Ebenezer Scrooge (Sebastian Loe) is captivating throughout, as he mixes subtlety and skill of dance which is synonymous of Northern Ballet, with the bad temper and the miserliness that are the trademarks of Scrooge. The combination of Ashley Dixon and Victoria Sibson as Mr and Mrs Fezziwig, in contrast to Scrooge, provide a delightfully surprising light relief as the pair perform a slap stick yet point perfect dance in the midst of their swirling and graceful employees. By far the most riveting point of this show however comes from the ensemble portraying the phantoms. The stunning costumes (Kim Brassley), combined with the eerie lighting allow the phantoms to give a performance which is hauntingly beautiful. It is indeed these costumes which really make A Christmas Carol a triumph, as they are what really bring to life the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. The costume of the Ghost of Christmas Past (Pippa Moore) is a little strange as her headdress has a rather distracting ring of flashing lights which occasionally draw attention from the main performance. In stark contrast to this though is Joseph Taylors costume in his portrayal as the Ghost of Christmas Future, which while looking like something dug up from the very depths of a nightmare is also expressive, captivating, and bizarrely beautiful.
While this show doesn’t offer anything new to A Christmas Carol, it doesn’t really need to. Dickens’ beloved story is generally considered the definitive Christmas tale, and trying to change it would detract from the beauty of the dance itself. Indeed the only real issue this show has is that it’s being performed in October, and while the phantoms fit in with the much closer celebration of Halloween, the show will leave you in a resolutely Christmassy mood, and still with another ten weeks to wait until Christmas Day.
Runs until October 12th and continues to tour