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A Christmas Carol

“Energetically staged update of the classic dickens tale”
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Northern Stage’s A Christmas Carol is an energetic, slick take on a classic, enlivened by a toe-tapping jazz-inspired soundtrack and bold design.

Neil Bartlett’s adaptation doesn’t stray far from the original story and hits all the expected beats, but the 1920s setting allows some gorgeous design choices (Rhys Jarman negotiates the challenges of staging in-the-round with a sparse, fluid set and clever costume touches). Composer G Hannabiell Sanders (who also performs) puts a fresh spin on traditional Christmas carols, spicing them up with everything from gospel to blues to West African drumming.

Nick Figgis’ Scrooge is suitably curmudgeonly and remorseful in turns, with some nice flashes of humour, and Craig Fairbairn is a likeable Bob Cratchit. Many of the talented cast also excel at the production’s physical theatre – a chain-wrapped Rachel Dawson descends from the rafters as Marley, while Will Pennington negotiates the Ghost of Christmas Past on stilts. Clara Darcy is all gangster swagger as a charismatic Christmas Present.

It’s not a nuanced production, too fond of its dazzle to embrace the real shade of the tale. The first half could be tighter, and some of the musical numbers drag. But director Mark Calvert delivers moments of real emotional heft – the death of Tiny Tim is genuinely moving, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is properly scary, looming ominously over the proceedings. The result is a big-hearted delight of a show that, like the very best of Christmases, is noisy, joyful and a little chaotic.


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Production Details
Production nameA Christmas Carol
VenueNorthern Stage
LocationNewcastle
StartsDecember 1, 2018
EndsJanuary 5, 2019
Running time2hrs 15mins
AdaptorNeil Bartlett
ComposerG Hannabiell Sanders
Book writerCharles Dickens
DirectorMark Calvert
Assistant directorKaren Traynor
Musical directorG Hannabiell Sanders
Movement directorMartin Hylton
Set designerJg Tansley, Matthew Tuckey, Rhys Jarman
Costume designerRhys Jarman
Lighting designerSam Vivash
Sound designerNick John Williams
CastCharlotte Turrell, Clara Darcy, Cooper Mcdonough, Craig Fairbairn, David Connelly, Eleanor Carter, G Hannabiell Sanders, Hugo Davison, Joe Metcalfe, Nick Figgis, Rachel Dawson, Rachel Wells, Tim Dalling, Will Pennington
Company stage managerColin Holman
Stage managerChloe Ribbens, Nicola Morris
ProducerNorthern
VerdictEnergetically staged update of the classic Dickens tale with a bold, fresh soundtrack and some striking design touches
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Tracey Sinclair

Tracey Sinclair

Tracey Sinclair

Tracey Sinclair

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