REVIEW: A Christmas Carol (Noel Coward Theatre)

Jim Broadbent and Samantha Spiro in A Christmas Carol. Credit Johan Persson.jpgFrom the moment I walked in to the Noel Coward Theatre, it felt like Christmas. With carol singers at the doors and mulled wine and mince pies on offer, added that special extra touch.

A Christmas Carol is Charles Dickens’s best loved story, written in 1843. There have been numerous stage, television, radio and film adaptions over the years and the big production for 2015 has just opened at the Noel Coward Theatre starring the legendary actor Jim Broadbent.

Ebenezer Scrooge is anti-Christmas. In fact he is anti-people and only gets pleasure from making money out of the poor. With his assistant Bob Cratchit, they lend money to less fortunate people and charge an extortionate interest rate in return. But when Scrooge gets in to bed on Christmas Eve he is visited by three ghosts. The ghost of Christmas past, Christmas present and Christmas yet to come. Together they look in to the lives of those closest to Scrooge and help him to understand how he is seen by others and how he came to been the bah humbug soul he is. Of course, this is a heartwarming Christmas story so he sees the error of his ways, repents and everyone has a wonderful Christmas!

This production is very cleverly done as a play within a play. The fourth wall is broken down as doors are wheeled on to the stage and fake snow is thrown in the air by the stage crew. This makes for a hilarious touch to an already wonderful play. It is also because of this comedic aspect that cheap looking props and non-moving clocks only add to the fun of it all.

Jim Broadbent is a joy to watch as Ebenezer Scrooge. At 66 years old he flutters around the stage like a teenager and the sparkle in his eyes shows he clearly loves what he does. He manages to make the character of Scrooge tender and lovable, like anyone would feel about a grandad. Adeel Akhtar is great as Scrooge’s assistant Bob Cratchit, the doting father of Tiny Tim who works all hours to support the family he loves. Amelia Bullmore, Samantha Soiro and Kier Charles all perform well in their roles of the ghosts of Christmas past, present and yet to come with Samantha giving a hilarious portrayal of the ghost of Christmas present.

With a great set design, clever direction and some wonderful moments of creating the effect of flying and puppetry, this is one Christmas Carol you don’t want to miss out on this festive season.

Reviewed by West End Wilma
Photo: Johan Persson

A Christmas Carol is playing at the Noel Coward Theatre until 30 January 2016. Click here to book tickets