Tice Oakfield might be a young Scrooge but he’s an effective one. Stooped with weariness, he exudes bleakness like a fog - though you can’t help being fond of him.
Talkwood Productions’ first national tour, a musical adaptation of A Christmas Carol, captures the great tradition of the English ghost story - being both chilling and charming.
The set pieces show keen creative minds at work - particularly the arrival of the Ghost Of Christmas Future. Instead of the cliched hooded figure, the company uses a huge, hanging black cloth which the actors push themselves into from behind - a brilliantly simple and sinister piece of stage craft.
Sections of the music - particularly the song of the Ghost of Christmas Past and some of Scrooge’s more reflective moments - are glorious, mournful and minor key.
A couple of moments jar. Would Belle, Scrooge’s beloved, really have told him to ‘switch off’ from his work? Similarly a reference to a smoothie - surely unknown in Victorian London - seems out of place.
These minor quibbles aside, this is a show of poise and swagger. Tempering Dickens’ more sugary moments with a dose of something more world-weary, it is the perfect tonic for a bleak winter night.