A Christmas Carol

An atmospheric Dickensian London, conjured up by Creation Theatre Co in the North Wall's converted Victorian swimming pool.
North Wall Arts Centre, Fri December 8th 2011 - Sat January 7th 2012

December 16, 2011

Knowing the story of A Christmas Carol so well I was interested to see how Creation Theatre would translate the tale for the stage, and they did not disappoint. From the lighting, set, sound effects and, most of all, the acting, Charlotte Conquest's adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic novel is first class.

As a cast of six main characters, the actors played a number of roles effortlessly, switching between the parts at ease, showing how versatile they could be. Noel White transformed himself into the bitter and stingy Scrooge, displaying a wide range of emotions in his facial expressions. White's portrayal of the penny-pinching old man was everything you could wish for, creating a stage presence at all times. In an interesting twist, the actors worked as a chorus throughout the performance, to narrate the proceedings in an interesting and comical way, often singing Christmas songs, but adapting the words. This was often done as the set change was happening, which worked perfectly.

The performance was full of comedy, particularly prevalent during the Ghost of Christmas Present's scenes, where the audience were in hysterics as he donned huge punk boots and what appeared like a Christmas decoration on his head! Tense and atmospheric moments were created with lighting and sound effects, particularly when the other Ghosts, and Marley, arrived on stage. So impressive was this mood that the audience nearly jumped out of their seats during certain scary moments, which I feel is a huge feat for any theatre company to captivate and move the audience in this way.

This show didn't seem to miss anything in terms of audience satisfaction. The set was superb, containing a huge clock in the middle of the stage, which moved to mark the change in time. The costumes and make-up, and even a snow fall at the end of the show completed a flawless performance. Creation's A Christmas Carol is one of the most enjoyable shows of this year; don't miss out on a night full of merriment and Christmas cheer!

I thought that Creation Theatre Company's A Christmas Carol at the North Wall Arts Centre in Summertown was the Dickens of a good show. The production, as always with Creation, is fast, funny and enjoyable for all ages (maybe not the smallest children: there are some dark moments).

Noel White, as Scrooge, is on stage virtually the whole time and gives a powerful performance: reminiscent of Alastair Sim, perhaps? Half a dozen actors take all the other parts, with miracle quick-changes, occasionally with the help of off-stage singers; you'll quickly recognise the music! The set, dominated by a giant clock-face, cleverly evokes the grim reality of life in Victorian London.

The North Wall itself – once the swimming pool for the boys’ school next door – is small but comfortable, although I guess cheaper seats may quickly get snapped up for the most popular dates.
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