Old Vic Theatre
The Cut, Waterloo, London
Public Previews: 23 November 2019
Opens: 4 December 2019
Closes: 18 January 2020
Buy tickets:Buy tickets online
Nearest Tube: Waterloo
Sat 23 Nov at 7.30pm
Sun 24 Nov no shows
Mon 25 Nov at 7.30pm
Tue 26 Nov at 7.30pm
Wed 27 Nov at 7.30pm
Thu 28 Nov at 7.30pm
Fri 29 Nov at 7.30pm
Sat 30 Nov at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Sun 1 Dec no shows
Mon 2 Dec at 7.30pm
Tue 3 Dec at 7.30pm
Wed 4 Dec at 7.00pm
Thu 5 Dec at 7.00pm
Fri 6 Dec at 1.00pm and 7.00pm
Sat 7 Dec at 7.00pm
Sun 8 Dec no shows
Mon 9 Dec at 7.00pm
Tue 10 Dec at 7.00pm
Wed 11 Dec at 1.00pm and 7.00pm
Thu 12 Dec at 7.00pm
Fri 13 Dec at 7.00pm
Sat 14 Dec at 1.00pm and 7.00pm
Sun 15 Dec no shows
Mon 16 Dec at 7.00pm
Tue 17 Dec at 1.00pm and 7.00pm
Wed 18 Dec at 7.00pm
Thu 19 Dec at 1.00pm and 7.00pm
Fri 20 Dec at 7.00pm
Sat 21 Dec at 1.00pm and 7.00pm
Sun 22 Dec no shows
Mon 23 Dec at 1.00pm and 7.00pm
Tue 24 Dec at 1.00pm
Wed 25 Dec no shows
Thu 26 Dec at 7.00pm
Fri 27 Dec at 1.00pm and 7.00pm
Sat 28 Dec at 1.00pm and 7.00pm
Sun 29 Dec no shows
Mon 30 Dec at 1.00pm and 7.00pm
Tue 31 Dec at 1.00pm
Wed 1 Jan at 7.00pm
Thu 2 Jan at 1.00pm and 7.00pm
Fri 3 Jan at 7.00pm
Sat 4 Jan at 1.00pm and 7.00pm
Sun 5 Jan no shows
Mon 6 Jan at 7.00pm
Tue 7 Jan at 1.00pm and 7.00pm
Wed 8 Jan at 1.00pm
Thu 9 Jan at 7.00pm
Fri 10 Jan at 7.00pm
Sat 11 Jan at 7.00pm
Sun 12 Jan no shows
Mon 13 Jan at 7.00pm
Tue 14 Jan at 1.00pm and 7.00pm
Wed 15 Jan at 1.00pm
Thu 16 Jan at 7.00pm
Fri 17 Jan at 7.00pm
Sat 18 Jan at 1.00pm and 7.00pm
Runs ? hours and ? minutes
£? to £?
(plus booking fees if applicable)
The return of Jack Thorne's new stage adapation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol in London - for its third Xmas season
Stage adaptations of the novel by Charles Dickens. On a bitter Christmas Eve night a cold-hearted miser is visited by four ghosts. Transported to worlds past, present and future, Ebenezer Scrooge witnesses what a lifetime of fear and selfishness has led to and sees with fresh eyes the lonely life he has built for himself. Can Ebenezer be saved before it's too late?
An uplifting family show suitable for ages 11 and above - contains haunting supernatural themes and some content which younger audiences may find upsetting.
The cast for the Christmas 2019/2020 season features Paterson Joseph as 'Ebenezer Scrooge' with Melissa Allan as 'Little Fan', Kwesi Edman as 'Young Ebenezer' / 'George', Hollie Edwin as 'Jess', Fred Haig as 'Fred', Nick Hart as 'Nicholas', Andrew Langtree as 'Father' / 'Marley', Myra McFadyen as 'Ghost of Christmas Past' / 'Mrs Fezziwig', Steven Miller as 'Bob Cratchit', Maria Omakinwa as 'Mrs Cratchit', Gloria Onitiri as 'Ghost of Christmas Present', James Staddon as 'Fezziwig', Samuel Townsend as 'Ferdy', and Rebecca Trehearn as 'Belle'. The role of 'Tiny Tim' is shared by Rayhaan Kufuor-Gray, Lara Mehmet, Lenny Rush, and Eleanor Stollery. Directed by Matthew Warchus with movement by Lizzi Gee, designs by Rob Howell, lighting by Hugh Vanstone, music by Chris Nightingale and sound by Simon Baker.
Paterson Joseph's London theatre credits include playing the roles of 'Brutus' in Gregory Doran's revival of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, for the RSC, at the Noel Coward Theatre in 2012; 'Peter Cauchon, the Bishop of Beauvais' in Marianne Elliott's revival of George Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan at the National Theatre's Olivier Theatre on 2007; and the ensemble cast of Polly Teale's revival of Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House, for Shared Experience, at the Ambassadors Theatre in 2000.
"Jack Thorne's version of A Christmas Carol is an uneasy mixture of morality tale and pantomime. Thorne strips away the period atmosphere to focus on the redemption of Scrooge... For no ostensible reason, Thorne makes Scrooge's first employer, the jovial Mr Fezziwig, an undertaker and his father a debtor. More pertinent is his identification of the Ghost of Christmas Future with Scrooge's sister, Fan. Until its final moments, Matthew Warchus's dimly lit, sparsely furnished production is equally dour. Then, as if remembering the season, Warchus brings out the tinsel in the shape of a crowdpleasing shoot of food down from the gallery... The high point of the production is its music. While there are few overtly Christian references in the original story, Thorne and Warchus seize on its title to offer a series of mellifluous carols." The Sunday Express
"Matthew Warchus's production might as well be called The Carollers' Revenge, as he drenches the show in a soundtrack that stomps from God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen to Deck the Halls. Everyone sings; everyone, beautifully, plays handbells - including a shivery Silent Night grave enough to catch your breath. The soppy script makes the story a self-indulgent parable of mindfulness for misers. We see a lot of Scrooge's harsh, debt-ridden dad (no wonder the boy went bad); and a lot of Fezziwig's daughter Belle, his lost love, lost chance... When Ebenezer's cast-iron heart finally cracks open... he orchestrates the audience into a feast delivery system (streamers of sausages, jelly for miles). He even commands a sprout drop from the ceiling, each baby cabbage floating on its own parachute... Yet what Thorne and Warchus do, like Scrooge, is to shut out the world... Except that Dickens insists we look outwards, take responsibility, repair what damage we can; and his tale has been reduced to a comfort blanket that lets bad people blame daddy and feel better about themselves. It isn't good enough." The Sunday Times
"Writer Jack Thorne rattles through Dickens's phantasmagoric morality tale as though afraid that, if he were to linger for a second too long at any point, the audience would pack up and leave. The upshot is that some of the story feels muddled and out of focus... There's an awful lot of cheer and nowhere near enough fear. What Thorne does convey, however, is a strong sense of the miserly Scrooge as a damaged lost boy, unable to shake off his failure as a child to live up to his impoverished, drunken father's expectations... Matthew Warchus is determined his audience will leave with a warm, fuzzy, love-thy-neighbour glow in their hearts and, thanks in no small part to a sublime use of Christmas music and a fabulous coup de theatre finale, we do. Resistance is futile." The Metro
The cast for the Old Vic Theatre 2018/2019 season - Previewed 27 November 2018, Opened 5 December 2018, Closed 19 January 2019 - featured Stephen Tompkinson as 'Ebenezer Scrooge', Peter Caulfield as 'Bob Cratchit', Michael Rouse as 'Father' / 'Marley' and Nicola Hughes as 'Ghost of Christmas Present' / 'Mrs Fezziwig', with Rosanna Bates as 'Jess', Ava Brennan as 'Mrs Cratchit', Jamie Cameron as 'Young Ebenezer' / 'George', Oliver Evans as 'Ferdy', Eugene McCoy as 'Fred', Myra McFadyen as 'Ghost of Christmas Past', Frances McNamee as 'Belle', Alastair Parker as 'Fezziwig', Tim van Eyken as 'Nicholas', and Witney White as 'Little Fan'. The role of 'Tiny Tim' is shared by Leo Lake, Lara Mehmet, Luka Petrovic, and Lenny Rush.
When this production opened here at the Old Vic Theatre in December 2018, Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard highlighted that, "although adept at suggesting despondency, Stephen Tompkinson isn't an obvious choice to play a miserly curmudgeon, and he makes Scrooge's transformation from a skinflint into a kinder man who immerses himself in the spirit of Christmas seem inevitable. What he possesses, though, is a relatable humanity, most evident in his dealings with Frances McNamee's Belle, the woman he once loved... this is ultimately a moving and atmospheric Christmas Carol." Dominic Maxwell in the Times said that "it's so sumptuously staged that I feel a bit Scrooge-like for liking it rather than loving it... Yet while this Christmas Carol is never less than pleasant to consume, it takes a long time to be moved by it."
Stephen Tompkinson's West End theatre credits include the role of 'Pieter' in Kevin Spacey's production of Maria Goos' play Cloaca at the Old Vic Theatre in 2004; the role of 'Percy' in John Caird's revival of Charles Dyer's play Rattle of a Simple Man at the Comedy Theatre (now Harold Pinter Theatre) in 2004; the role of 'Mortimer Brewster' in Matthew Francis' revival of Joseph Kesselring's comedy farce Arsenic And Old Lace at the Novello Theatre in 2003; and the role of 'Philip Welch' in Karel Reisz's revival of Terrence Rattigan's play The Deep Blue Sea at the Apollo Theatre in 1993.
Peter Caulfield's London theatre credits include the role of 'Herod' in Timothy Sheader's revival of the Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Jesus Christ Superstar at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre in 2016.
Michael Rouse's West End stage credits include the role 'Gus' in the original cast of Arlene Philips' stage production of the musical Saturday Night Fever at the London Palladium in 1998.
Nicola Hughes' London stage credits include the title role of 'Bess' in Timothy Sheader's revival of the Gershwin's musical Porgy and Bess at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre in 2014; the tile role of 'Bess' in Trevor Nunn's revival of the Gershwin's Porgy and Bess at the Savoy Theatre in 2006; and the role of the 'Acid Queen' in Des McAnuff's production of the Peter Townshend musical Tommy at the Shaftesbury Theatre in 1996.
The cast for the Old Vic Theatre 2017/2018 season - Previewed 20 November 2017, Opened 29 November 2017, Closed 20 January 2018 - featured Rhys Ifans as 'Ebenezer Scrooge', John Dagleish as 'Bob Cratchit' and Alex Gaumond as 'Father / Marley' with Melissa Allan as 'Little Fan', Jamie Cameron as 'Young Ebenezer / George', Erin Doherty as 'Belle', Oliver Evans as 'Ferdy', Tim van Eyken as 'Nicholas', Siena Kelly as 'Jess', Eugene McCoy as 'Fred', Myra McFadyen as 'Ghost of Christmas Past', Maria Omakinwa as 'Mrs Cratchit', Alastair Parker as 'Fezziwig', Golda Rosheuvel as 'Ghost of Christmas Present / Mrs Fezziwig'. The role of 'Tiny Tim' is shared by Toby Eden, Grace Fincham, Ethan Quinn, and Lenny Rush.
When this production opened here at the Old Vic Theatre in November 2017, Michael Billington in the Guardian said that "Jack Thorne's new version, starring Rhys Ifans as Scrooge, stands high on my list of favourites. In Matthew Warchus's superb production it combines Dickens's social anger with a genuine sense of festivity... That tension between two extremes is also implicit in Rhys Ifans's excellent Scrooge. He has the right acidulous leanness and his spiky, straw-coloured hair betokens personal negligence." Paul Taylor in the i newspaper praised how "Matthew Warchus's magnificent staging provides everything you might want from a theatrical adaptation of Dickens's timeless (and never more timely) morality tale urging social responsibility and compassion... Rhys Ifans gives a remarkably powerful performance... This is both a witty and deeply affecting take on A Christmas Carol. Ifans is excellent at every phase of Scrooge's journey." "This is a gorgeous production," hailed Ann Treneman in the Times, adding how "Jack Thorne is responsible for this adaptation and it is traditional but with a modern twist that delights...It's a magical night. Enjoy." Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph highlighted that "Matthew Warchus's stylish production... is an intensely melodious reading of the classic tale - book-ended by the cast, in spotless period attire, cheerily filling the air with the angelic sound of chiming hand-bells. Those who love a shortcut to enchantment will be smitten but what's frustratingly elusive is a sense of engulfing dread." Fiona Mountford in the London Evening Standard described how, "mad of hair and malevolent of expression, Rhys Ifans is a convincingly degenerate soul in desperate need of salvation. Matthew Warchus's fluid, set-free production makes use of some beautiful arrangements of carols, whose own lines of haunting poetry underscore the thrust of Dickens's words." Neil Norman in the Daily Express thought that "the first half is pacy but only strikes one note as Rhys Ifans sticks to an unwavering ranting growl that grows tiresome. The second half is much livelier with more light and shade as well as stage mischief... An alternative Scrooge but a good one." Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail wrote that "this cosily user-friendly version of A Christmas Carol... Although the costumes are period, the language has been inoffensively modernised and there are minimalist touches such as imagined doorways. Matthew Warchus judiciously mixes tradition and surreal innovation... Rhys Ifans gives us a middle-aged, energetic Scrooge, at times almost hammed up like an Alan Rickman Sheriff of Nottingham... families will luxuriate in this inventive, unashamedly seasonal show."
Rhys Ifans' London theatre credits include the role of the 'Fool' in Deborah Warner's revival of William Shakespeare's King Lear, opposite Glenda Jackson in title role, at the Old Vic Theatre in 2016; and the title role in Michael Grandage's production of Patrick Marber's play Don Juan In Soho, loosely based on Moliere, at the Donmar Warehouse in 2006. In 2018 Rhys Ifans will be starring in Roger Michell's production of Joe Penhall's new play Mood Music at the Old Vic Theatre.
John Dagleish's West End stage credits include the role the 'Policeman' in Rob Ashford and Kenneth Branagh's revival of Terence Rattigan's play Harlequinade at the Garrick Theatre in 2015; the role of 'Autolycus' in Rob Ashford and Kenneth Branagh's revival of William Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale at the Garrick Theatre in 2015; and the role of 'Ray Davies' in the original cast of Edward Hall's production of Joe Penhall's Sunny Afternoon, based on the music of Ray Davies and The Kinks, at the Harold Pinter Theatre in 2014.
Alex Gaumond's West End theatre credits include the role of 'Tom Jenkins' in Bob Tomson's revival of Leslie Bricusse's musical Scrooge at the London Palladium in 2005; Sam Buntrock's revival Stephen Sondheim's musical Sunday In The Park With George at the Wyndham's Theatre in 2006; the roles of 'Ray Sunshine' in Angus Jackson's production of the Peter Michael Marino musical Desperately Seeking Susan, based on the film and using the songs of Blondie, at the Novello Theatre in 2007; the role of 'Emmett Forrest' in the original cast of Jerry Mitchell's production of the musical comedy Legally Blonde the Musical at the Savoy Theatre in 2010; the role of 'Galileo Figaro' in Ben Elton's musical We Will Rock You, based on the songs by Queen, at the Dominion Theatre in 2011; the role of 'Alberto Beddini' in Matthew White's production of Irving Berlin's musicalTop Hat at the Aldwych Theatre in 2013; the role of 'Miss Trunchbull' in Matthew Warchus' production of the Tim Minchin musical Matilda, adapted by Dennis Wise from the book by Roald Dahl, at the Cambridge Theatre in 2013; the role of 'Freddy Benson' in Jerry Mitchell's production of David Yazbek's musical comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels at the Savoy Theatre in 2014; the role of 'Beadle Bamford' in Lonny Price's revival of Stephen Sondheim's musical Sweeney Todd at the London Coliseum in 2015; and the role of 'Adam Pontipee' in Rachel Kavanaugh's revival of the Johnny Mercer and Gene de Paul musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre in 2015.
A Christmas Carol in London at the Old Vic Theatre public previews from 23 November 2019, opens on 4 December 2019 and closes on 18 January 2020
Other London theatre shows based on the works of Charles Dickens include Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, A Tale of Two Cities, Mystery of Charles Dickens, and the musicals Dickens Unplugged, Hard Times, Scrooge and Oliver!.
A Christmas Carol - Patrick Stewart 2005
Previewed 6 December 2005, Opened 7 December 2005, Closed 31 December 2005 at the Noel Coward Theatre in London
Patrick Stewart in his award-winning one man show A Christmas Carol in London which he has adapted from the novel by Charles Dickens for the stage himself.
Through a wealth of acting virtuosity and flair, Patrick Stewart, renowned for his starring roles in Star Trek, X-Men and at the Royal Shakespeare Company, brings to life the colourful characters in Charles Dickens' classic tale. This production is the perfect Christmas treat for all ages, offering a wonderful opportunity to rediscover this timeless story.
Patrick Stewart, who plays all the characters in Dicken's classic Christmas tale himself, won the Olivier Award for 'Best Entertainment' when he performed A Christmas Carol in London at The Old Vic Theatre in December 1993. When he staged the production in New York he won the Drama Desk Award for 'Outstanding Solo Performance'.
"We always knew Patrick Stewart was a far more versatile actor than when he was star-trekking the galaxies in sci-fi rompers... Stewart won an Olivier award with this show in 1993 and one sees why. It's not just that, in this increasingly slovenly era, his diction and projection are so immaculate... it's that he combines energy with subtlety... Indeed, I'd be surprised if Dickens himself, who destroyed his health taking one-man readings of his work round America, wouldn't have acknowledged this as the theatrical Christmas Carol . His humour is there. His sentiment is there. So is his anger." The Times
"This is a masterclass of storytelling from Patrick Stewart and, doubtless, few can play a bell chiming midnight better. He is also pretty good as the doorknocker, which transforms into the living image of his dead partner, Jacob Marley; excellent as a scratchy violin; and he conjures up the Cratchits' turkey dinner so magnificently, I swear I could smell the sage-and-onion stuffing. So why was I impressed but never riveted? Because, as with so many one-man shows, this feels like a virtuosic display of talent rather than an emotionally involving piece of theatre." The Mail on Sunday
"Star Trek legend Patrick Stewart blasts the dust off all the holly and mistletoe and presents us with a fresh interpretation of one of Charles Dickens's greatest hits. His Scrooge, unlike the over-the-top memory of Alistair Sim, is central. As actor, director and adapter, Stewart gives us a master class as well as a masterly portrayal. He manages to perform and narrate the seasonal tale with the enthusiasm of someone discovering it for the first time, filling the stage with more characters, more tears and more laughter than are to be found in the whole of the gigantic Scrooge musical currently at the Palladium." The Daily Express
Patrick Stewart in A Christmas Carol in London at the Noel Coward Theatre previewed from 6 December 2005, opened on 7 December 2005 and closed on 31 December 2005.
A Christmas Carol - Horla 2005 and 2010
Previewed 21 December 2005, Opened 22 December 2005, Closed 7 January 2006 at the Trafalgar Studio 2, returned
Previewed 21 December 2010, Opened 22 December 2010, Closeed 8 January 2011 at the Trafalgar Studio 2
The Horla Theatre Company returns to presents Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol in London in a stage version adapted for the stage by Joanna Volinska and directed by Alistair Green. Following the success of Christmas productions including GRIMMS Trilogy and Rumplestiltskin and Other Grizzly Tales, Horla return to London with another festive treat for all the family.
Christmas, for the bitter old miser Ebenezer Scrooge, is not a good enough reason to be jolly. But then one Christmas Eve he is visited by the spirit of his late business partner Jacob Marley and three other ghosts...
The Horla Theatre Company production of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol stays true to the original novel, concentrating on the darker aspects of the story, and is performed using mime, physical theatre and live music by an ensemble of actor/ musicians. This production of a well-loved classic will be the perfect entertainment for the whole family. "May it haunt their houses pleasantly" - most suitable for children of 6plus and their brave adults.A Christmas Carol in London at the Trafalgar Studio 2 previewed 21 December 2005, opened on 22 December 2005 and closed on 7 January 2006, returned with previews from 21 December 2010, opened on 22 December 2010 and closeed on 8 January 2011.
A Christmas Carol - Simon Callow 2011 / 2012 / 2016
Previewed 8 December 2011, Opened 10 December 2011, Closed 14 January 2012 at the Arts Theatre
Returned 29 November 2012, Closed 6 January 2013 at the Arts Theatre
Previewed 8 December 2016, Opened 15 December 2016, Closed 7 January 2017 at the Arts Theatre
Simon Callow stars in Charles Dickins' A Christmas Carol in London for a four week holiday season
As the ghosts spirit Scrooge from the present to his past and future, Dickens takes us on a magical journey from the miser's dank and creaking house to cosy hearths, and from snowy graveyards to joyful festivities. This treasured story offers a celebration of goodness, a plea for justice and the promise of redemption.
Based on Dickens' own performance adaptation, Simon Callow and director-designer Tom Cairns have created a one-man theatrical extravaganza of festive story-telling that is both heart-warming and deeply moving.
This production was originally seen in London here at the Arts Theatre in 2011 (previewed from 8 December 2011, opened on 10 December 2011 and closed on 14 January 2012) and again the following year (from 29 November 2012 to 6 January 2013). Simon Callow's West End credits include Sean Mathias' revival of Samuel Beckett's play Waiting For Godot, playing opposite Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, at the Haymarket Theatre in 2009, the leading role of 'Count Fosco' in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical The Woman in White at the Palace Theatre in 2005, Simon Gray's play The Holy Terror at the Duke of York's Theatre in 2004, Simon Callow's acting credits include Daniel Kramer's production of Franz Xaver Kroetz's Through the Leaves at the Duchess Theatre in 2003, and Peter Ackroyd's one-man play The Mystery of Charles Dickens which enjoyed a combined run of some six months firstly at the Harold Pinter Theatre in 2000, transferred to the Noel Coward Theatre in 2000, returned in 2002 and returned again to the Playhouse Theatre 2012.
When this production was originally seen in London here at the Arts Theatre in December 2011, Charles Spencer in The Daily Telegraph described it as being "Beautiful and magical" adding that "Simon Callow is an absolute master when it comes to Dickens, relishing the language, the social indignation, the humour and the magnificent greatheartedness of the writer who hastened his own death with passionate public readings of his work that held Victorian audiences spellbound... But what really matters in Tom Cairns's attentive production is Dickens's words, and Callow brings them to life with a precision and relish that holds his audience spellbound... There will be many bigger, flashier shows on offer this Christmas, but none, I suspect, that will leave one quite so warmed and moved as this one." Quentin Letts in The Daily Mail highlighted that "it is a measure of Simon Callow's skill - and Charles Dickens's story - that the evening works... It may not be the most visually arresting of evenings, but your mind supplies plenty of pictures. Lovely." Sam Marlowe in The Times explained how "the production, inspired by Dickens' own public readings, springs few surprises. But it glows with humour and compassion, and Simon Callow makes a masterly storyteller, tracing the tale's emotional journey with precision and relishing the writing's linguistic curlicues like mouthfuls of plum pudding... Callow and Tom Cairns adroitly handle the novel's blend of sentiment, celebration and social comment; the result is a piquant pleasure." Sarah Hemming in The Financial Times said that, "taking Dickens' own performances of the text as his starting point, Simon Callow gives what is basically an enhanced narration... Tom Cairns' staging is remarkably atmospheric... A quietly spellbinding piece of theatre." Lyn Gardner in The Guardian wrote that "Simon Callow and Charles Dickens go together like plum pudding and brandy butter, and there is a candied fruit richness to this one-man version. Its simplicity of staging - which draws on Dickens's own style used for public readings - gives the words a chance to breathe and implores the audience to bring their imaginations to the storytelling... Tom Cairns's design and direction offer a hint of fog, a sprinkling of snow and a tickle of fairylights, but the magic is in the writing that conjures not just ghosts, but Dickensian London itself, in all its dark poverty and blazing humanity... there is an appeal in its understated quality, and belief in the transforming power of stories." Simon Edge in The Daily Express commented how "it's refreshing to return to the original text in Simon Callow's warm-hearted and enthralling one-man show. Using the novelist's own performance version of the story, which Dickens used to read to large audiences, Callow dispenses with the Gothic cliches that tend to pile like snowdrifts around this seasonal tale... So this 75-minute show is not quite the phantasmagoria promised in the marketing and at times it's hard to shake the feeling that we are suffering the stinginess of the old Scrooge... But it's churlish to dwell on budgets when this is such an impeccably performed piece that returns so unfussily to Dickensian basics."
Simon Callow in A Christmas Carol in London at the Arts Theatre previewed from 8 December 2016, opened on 15 December 2016 and closed on 7 January 2017
A Christmas Carol - Jim Broadbent 2015
Previewed 30 November 2015, Opened 9 December 2015, Closed 30 January 2016 at the Noel Coward Theatre in London
Patrick Barlow's stage adaptation of A Christmas Carol, inspired by the novel by Charles Dickens and starring Jim Broadbent as Ebenezer Scrooge.
The cast features Jim Broadbent as 'Ebenezer Scrooge' along with Adeel Akhtar, Amelia Bullmore, Keir Charles, Samantha Spiro, Jack Parker and Kim Scopes. Directed by Phelim McDermott with choreography by Toby Sedgwick, designs by Tom Pye, lighting by Peter Mumford and sound by Gareth Fry.
When this production opened here at the Noel Coward Theatre in December 2015, Paul Taylor in the Independent highlighted that "there's a lovely mixture of the traditional and prankishly modern in this version... The miser here becomes a loan shark who, in Jim Broadbent's captivating performance, glories in his victims' distress with a gleeful gusto... genuinely inventive and heart-warming." Ian Shuttleworth in the Financial Times thought that "director Phelim McDermott and designer Tom Pye have captured the joy of playmaking and storytelling... Towards the end the players even break the fourth wall and acknowledge the audience; this element is only patchily successful, but it is part of the motivating notion that we are sharing this tale and are all part of the fun together." Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail said that in this "boiled-down version... after a decidedly ordinary first half the show does finally warm up in its final ten minutes, when Mr Broadbent is allowed to slip into his trademark congenial routine. A good ending to a disappointing night." Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph hailed the "mischievous twinkle about everything the company of just five - supplemented by two puppeteers - get up to. Comedy is brought to the fore... The spirit is one of send-up... All told, this is a surprising, quirky reading which traditionalists may find hard to stomach, but Dickens' hardy perennial is robust enough to take the knockabout." Ann Treneman in the Times explained that "Phelim McDermott, the director, keeps it cracking along but at times we are simply overwhelmed... but, in the end, this play belongs to Jim Broadbent, who holds it all together magnificently, even while wearing a nightcap and some very dodgy looking bedsocks." Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard praised Jim Broadbent's "detailed performance, alert to Scrooge's pomposity and also to the sheer ordinariness of his vices," adding that "Phelim McDermott's production is full of invention, with neat puppetry and plenty of cheeky, lo-fi vibrancy. But at times it feels clumsy... The tone of Patrick Barlow's writing is equally uneven... the result is a show that's a mixture of the inspired and the ponderous. Not a case of 'Bah, humbug!' - but not exactly a Christmas cracker." Lyn Gardner in the Guardian asked: "Has there ever been a Scrooge quite as genial and cuddly as the one offered by Jim Broadbent?... With an almost permanent twinkle in his eye... it's a larky, high-spirited production that operates as a play within a play... All this is quite fun, warm and silly... the danger is that amidst all this bonhomie, and with Broadbent's Scrooge so essentially loveable and baby-faced even when supposedly at his most curmudgeonly, the story's backbone - its redemptive arc - is lost."
"This wonderful production will have you longing for a figgy pudding and humming carols all the way home. Jim Broadbent has great fun as Dickens' miser Scrooge. This iconic tale can sometimes be a little dark, but this show has humour to spare. The staging is imaginative. Puppets are used to good effect... All the cast - four actors and two puppeteers - are excellent." The Sunday Mirror
"It is much to the credit of Patrick Barlow's splendid adaptation that the political message survives all the rumbustious fun and theatrical magic... Jim Broadbent is a less scary Scrooge than some, more cranky misanthrope than lost soul, but he is wonderfully endearing when he blusters with the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Present and deeply moving when, having come to terms with his own damaged childhood, he resolves to help the crippled Tiny Tim. Much of the evening's enchantment springs from Phelim McDermott's inventive direction, which plays deliciously with theatrical conventions... In addition, there are charming puppets, both string and shadow; brilliant flying effects using sets of false legs; captivating clowning; and a splendid quartet of supporting performances from Samantha Spiro, Amelia Bullmore, Adeel Akhtar and Keir Charles, who have so many quick changes that their dressers should also take a bow." The Sunday Express
"This sounds like a guaranteed Christmas cracker: Dickens, Jim Broadbent as Scrooge, the writer Patrick Barlow and the director Phelim McDermott, whose puppet-based Shockheaded Peter really was theatrical genius... Tiny Tim is a teeny little puppet, no higher than your knee as he poignantly limps along with his wooden crutch, and the work of the two professional puppeteers, Jack Parker and Kim Scopes, is wonderful throughout. The trouble is, the delicacy and subtlety of the puppets' performances points up the lack of these qualities in some of the flesh-and-blood acting, which is too often shouty, extravagant and way over the top. ... If he lacks edge, Broadbent is still irresistible, with his tufty hair sticking out over his ears, and there's another fine performance from Adeel Akhtar, whose Bob Cratchit has just the understated and compelling presence lacking in some of the other performances. This Christmas Carol is fun, up to a point, but it lacks sincerity." The Sunday Times
"Tom Pye's delightful design takes its cue from Benjamin Pollock's toy theatres and pop-up story books, with a charming Victorian decoupage proscenium arch. Cardboard cut-out doors, a gramophone and panoramas of London are rolled on and off as required. And all is performed with terrific spit-and-sawdust gusto by a versatile cast of five, plus two puppeteers... But, but, but - and call me a mean old Scrooge - Phelim McDermott's show is too much of a lark, and so sloshed with Christmas spirit that all Dickensian darkness dissipates... Still, there's plenty of fun to be had, what with the ridiculous fake legs Scrooge and various ghosts put on to make them look as if they are flying through time and space, and Samantha Spiro venting her inner Barbara Windsor, with Psycho-style dagger and screeching sound effects as the Ghost of Christmas Present. Best by far are the puppets and puppetry: children suggested by empty bonnets; an extraordinarily expressive, pink-cheeked little Ebenezer Scrooge; a one-legged Tiny Tim. Here the show becomes a magical celebration of the imaginative power of theatre. Dickens would have loved that." The Mail on Sunday
Jim Broadbent in A Christmas Carol in London at the Noel Coward Theatre previewed from 30 November 2015, opened on 9 December 2015 and closed on 30 January 2016.