Welcome! This is your first free article. Get more free articles when you sign up with your email.

A Christmas Carol

“Charming and atmospheric”

Returning to the Old Vic for the third year running, Jack Thorne’s adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic morality tale manages to be both faithful to the original and shamelessly sob-inducing, while also amplifying its message of social responsibility.

This time around, the charismatic Paterson Joseph dons Ebenezer Scrooge’s tatty robe as he prepares to meet three spirits and contemplate his miserly, self-interested existence. With his expressive face, rum-and-thunder voice and patchy fuzz of grey hair, his Scrooge is not as cold-souled as Dickens’ protagonist, rather a man who has let his own terror of debt turn him into a joyless, loveless pincher of pennies. There’s a slightly impish, manic quality to Joseph’s performance and he shifts effortlessly from grouchy to giddy in the last scenes, as the newly joy-infused Scrooge engineers a vast Christmas dinner.

Thorne cleverly makes each ghost a facet of Scrooge’s late sister, Fan, and beefs up his backstory with Rebecca Trehearn’s Belle. Staged in-the-round, it’s beautifully lit by Hugh Vanstone, the stage illuminated by a canopy of lanterns.

While Matthew Warchus’ production seems at times to want to have its Christmas cake and eat it – there’s snow, hand-bell ringing, mince pies, more snow, parachuting sprouts, plus a dizzyingly sweet Tiny Tim (the returning Lenny Rush, one of four young actors sharing the role) – its power is intensified. Many of the lines hit even harder now than they did in 2017, with Dickens’ ideas about society, and how it cares for its poor and vulnerable, ringing out like a bell.

A Christmas Carol review at Old Vic, London – ‘incredibly atmospheric’

Related to this Review

A Christmas CarolA Christmas Carol

Production Details
Production nameA Christmas Carol
VenueOld Vic
StartsNovember 23, 2019
EndsJanuary 18, 2020
Running time2hrs
AuthorJack Thorne
ComposerChristopher Nightingale
DirectorMatthew Warchus
Musical directorOli Jackson
Set designerRob Howell
Lighting designerHugh Vanstone
Sound designerSimon Baker
CastGloria Onitiri, Andrew Langtree, Fred Haig, Hollie Edwin, James Staddon, Maria Omakinwa, Melissa Allan, Myra Mcfadyen, Paterson Joseph, Rebecca Trehearn, Samuel Townsend, Steven Miller, Kwesi Edman, Nick Hart
Stage managerJohn Caswell
ProducerOld Vic
VerdictThe return of Jack Thorne's charming and atmospheric adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic morality tale
Add New Comment
You must be logged in to comment.
Natasha Tripney

Natasha Tripney

Natasha Tripney

Natasha Tripney

Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue

Invest in The Stage today with a subscription starting at just £3.98
The Stage
© Copyright The Stage Media Company Limited 2020
Linked In