This immersive version of A Christmas Carol has been staged nine years running since emerging from a small pub performance in York. Adapted by Alexander Wright and co-created and directed by Tom Bellerby, this two-hander is a re-imagining of Dickens’ famous ghost story. Snippets of the original novel are framed by a wholly contemporary celebration that casts the collective audience as ghosts.
Guided by Jack Whitam’s playful Jacob Marley, the audience rings bells, sing carols and point an accusing finger at Alexander Barclay’s traditionally misanthropic Scrooge. Somewhere in the middle a two-course meal is served, courtesy of catering partner Flavourology. Crackers are pulled until Scrooge is shown the error of his ways.
Finding the correct balance between theatrical experience and party atmosphere is probably the biggest challenge faced by any immersive theatre company. Wright and Bellerby’s adaption may not please the purists but it does deliver an entertaining and unchallenging night out, complete with a hearty meal.
While the production may have developed in terms of catering and venue, the overall design, here attributed to Cait Corkery seems lacking after such a progressively successful series of runs. A few props scattered about the room hint at the paucity of Scrooge’s parlour, but there’s little attention to detail in the costume or make-up, where a small investment might raise the bar.