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A Christmas Carol review at Tramway, Glasgow – ‘strong ensemble work’

Jess Murphy and Jamie Marie Leary in A Christmas Carol at Tramway, Glasgow. Photo: Tim Morozzo
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Dominic Hill’s production, first seen at the Citizens in 2014 and revived by the company for its sabbatical at Glasgow Tramway, revels in the darkness of Neil Bartlett’s adaptation.

It’s all the better for the move in location, making the most of the Tramway’s intimacy. Bartlett’s freewheeling adaptation is performed by a 10-strong ensemble whose jolly carolling at the show’s opening contrasts with the rest of the production.

Benny Young’s Scrooge is an irascible figure, whose curmudgeonly attitude provides more humour than anything else – that is until the arrival of designer Rachael Canning’s puppet ghosts.

Each ghost proves more horrific than the last, although Scrooge quickly overcomes his terror to almost immediately sees the error of his ways. Such lightly won redemption is off-set by the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come which looms out of the back stage in a genuinely unsettling manner.

There is plenty to love about this production, with its snow-strewn set and a strong and tight-knit ensemble who deliver Nikola Kodjabashia’s evocative live score with real spirit. Andy Clark’s Bob Cratchit, Jamie Marie Leary’s Miss Fezziwig and Reuben Joseph, as both Fred and Peter Cratchit, are particularly notable.

Though the production lacks a contemporary feel, it pointedly dwells on the results of Scrooge’s redemption. This is no ‘photo-op at a food bank’ conversion, but a solid commitment to ensuring that the young people have a future.

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Decidedly dark take on Charles Dickens’ classic bolstered by some strong ensemble work