review: A CHRISTMAS CAROL The Shaw Theatre, Euston
Three star rating. Charles Dickens festive tale spans many genres. On the one hand, it is a morality tale and a piece of social commentary, charting miserly Scrooge s journey to enlightenment. On the other, it is a ghost st
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
The Shaw Theatre, Euston
Charles Dickens' festive tale spans many genres. On the one hand, it is a morality tale and a piece of social commentary, charting miserly Scrooge's journey to enlightenment.
On the other, it is a ghost story, full of spooky encounters and steeped in the message that the past cannot be escaped.
What it is not, generally speaking, is a puppet show. Yet that is exactly how director and adaptor Chris Pickles approaches the classic. A varied bunch of puppets - from life-size papier mache creatures to two-dimensional bits of floating scenery, all bring the story to life.
- 1 Calls to make road in front of a Highgate school safer
- 2 Barnet leader pledges council tax rebate and an end to outsourcing
- 3 Positives for Arsenal despite missing top four
- 4 Parliament Hill flower shop comes to pupils' rescue
- 5 Camden teacher's cycle ride to find a cure for daughter's 'sleeping beauty' syndrome
- 6 The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee flypast: Where, and when, the planes will fly over north and east London
- 7 Harry Hill's Tony Blair rock opera premieres at Park Theatre
- 8 Nazanin was 'forced' to sign false confession by Iran
- 9 Major tube strike to follow Queen's Platinum Jubilee long weekend
- 10 Highgate woman pledges £1million for children's autism charity
Tiny Tim is particularly poignant as the blank-faced puppet whose disembodied voice forever asks when he'll grow big.
The production also boasts eight active actors. Dermot Canavan is a delight as Fezziwig, while Michael Rouse's Scrooge captures just the right grouchy bathos of a man who knows he's done wrong but hates to admit it.
The company work well as an ensemble, boosting their fresh interpretation in a production that is largely faithful to the original text.
Pickles is helped by Paul Knight's songs and Maureen Freedman's very pretty design, suggesting that the whole drama leapt fully-fledged from the beautiful illustrations Dickens ensured accompanied the story's first publication.
Not all of the songs further the action, with some of the scenes sprawling into sentimentality. But the promise of redemption shines through.
Scrooge's meetings with ghosts from his past, present and future do, as Dickens hoped, deliver "a sledge-hammer blow on behalf of the poor man's child".
Until January 12.