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A Christmas Carol review at the Charles Dickens Museum, London – ‘festive and historical’

Dominic Gerrard in A Christmas Carol at the Charles Dickens Museum. Photo: Faye Thomas
Dominic Gerrard in A Christmas Carol at the Charles Dickens Museum. Photo: Faye Thomas

Played out in the former home of the author (now the Charles Dickens Museum) in Bloomsbury, this production of A Christmas Carol is awash with atmosphere, both festive and historical.

Storyteller Dominic Gerrard narrates and brings the characters to life, aided only by a life-size puppet of Ebenezer Scrooge, which he also operates.

Gerrard is such a gifted and charismatic performer he soon has us believing that the puppet Scrooge is a living, breathing – if rather cold – creature who won’t easily be won over by Christmas goodwill.

Accompanied by a musical backing track, Gerrard embodies each character Scrooge encounters, demonstrating a bewitching talent for portraying a diverse and entertaining array of personalities. The contrast of emotions he sweeps the audience through is quite astonishing – we’re feeling boisterous one minute, and experiencing Scrooge’s palpable loneliness the next.

And the scenes featuring fragile Tiny Tim are among the most poignant you could imagine.

It obviously helps that the source material is so strong, but this is an exceptionally effective and powerful interpretation of the Christmas story, seemingly intensified by its uncomplicated presentation. Yet Gerrard’s subtle talent shouldn’t be underestimated. He is at the very core of this production’s unique charm.

Verdict
A polished yet heartwarming site-specific interpretation of Dickens' classic Christmas tale
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