A Christmas Carol
Review by Callum Stott.
Photograph by The Old Vic.
"...filled with beautiful period costumes and a set that comes to life with no area of the theatre off limits."
The Christmas bells are chiming loudly in London this winter as the stage production of A Christmas Carol returns to the Old Vic theatre for its 6th year running. Charles Dickens celebrated story comes to life on stage with brilliant performances, a unique set design and enough snow to make you feel like you have arrived at a Dickensian Christmas day.
A Christmas Carol, written by Charles Dickens in 1843, is a festive tale showing that the true joy in life is thinking of others above yourself. Although the novel came out around 200 years ago, the narrative is incredibly relevant, as many of us often become too focussed on ourselves, instead of others. The greediness and heartlessness of Scrooge come back to haunt him – quite literally – in the form of the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. Scrooge's evening takes him on a life-altering journey. You eventually realise that there is a heart hidden deep within this incredibly miserable man.
Owen Teale is an outstanding performer. His take on Ebenezer Scrooge is so well-rounded, with the low and eventual high points within Scrooge’s life brilliantly acted on stage. He delivers emotional storytelling in the dialogue and explores the moments that have shaped the character and how he has come to be. In the glimmers of good, Owen makes you hope for a new life to begin for Scrooge. Owen’s humour also lends itself well to the part. Even in Scrooge's worst moments, a witty line of dark humour allows the audience to breathe and see some humanity within him.
The play's talented ensemble was equally strong and often became multiple characters within the piece which helped aid the show's narrative. Matthew Warchus’s direction was equally brilliant. You can see that he adapted the work around the performers and allowed the actors great freedom in terms of shaping their characters and delivering their unique interpretations of the characters. The set and costume design by Rob Howell remains incredibly impressive, filled with beautiful period costumes and a set that comes to life with no area of the theatre off limits.
If this iconic play wasn't enough, your trip to The Old Vic is topped off with a mince pie and possibly an orange if it's thrown out to you - what more can you ask for? The Old Vic’s production of A Christmas Carol is packed full of heart and is the perfect way to spend a winter's evening.
A Christmas Carol runs at The Old Vic until the 7th of January.
Book tickets here
Photograph by The Old Vic.