Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Review of 'A Christmas Carol'

Here's a review by John Clarke from First Form, following their recent visit to the Gate Theatre:

On Wednesday, 9 December, I Form went to see John Mortimer's adaptation of Dickens's A Christmas Carol at the Gate theatre. The production was directed by Alan Stanford.

I thought the set was very realistic: it consisted of a brick wall and a fireplace with many entrances and an old Victorian door on the right. The backdrop occasionally opened up to reveal shop windows in London. The brilliant Victorian top hats, gowns, dresses, tail-coats, cloaks and rags also set the scene well and it was evidently a busy winter's night in a London street.

I had previously seen Stephen Brennan in Noel Coward's Present Laughter. In both of his performances as the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Present, he was hilarious.

Paul Nolan, playing one of the chorus London boys, used his carolling voice brilliantly and played a big part in making the stage performance realistic. I felt excited and proud to see him up there having known him for six years.

My favourite scene was Mr Fezziwig's ball as I thought the dancing and the laughter of the excited ladies and gentlemen was amusing and really enjoyable to watch. It was just as I had imagined it in the book.

I was rather disappointed by the scene with Marley's ghost. Although it was exciting and the ghost made me shiver, the narrators standing openly in the background spoiled the sense of Scrooge being utterly alone.

I thought the play overall was very good and it respected the book well. The Ghost of Christmas Present was very funny because of his childish character and plump figure. He was the highlight of the show. I think the book was complicated and some scenes were more exciting in theatrical performance, yet others couldn't live up to the standard of Dickens.

I would recommend this to adults and to people who have read the novel for both are thrilling and after reading the book, the play is more understandable.

[In this afternoon's College Carol Service, Mr Girdham will be reading an extract from the book].

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