The most iconic of all Christmas stories is Dicken’s ‘A Christmas Carol’. In 1994 it was adapted into a musical that played annually every December at Madison Square Garden until 2003. A critical and popular success, this musical version of ‘A Christmas Carol’ is this year’s choice of Christmas production by the Birmingham and Midlands Operatic Society, with the show opening this week at The Alexandra. I went along to the press night last night and can safely say they have an overwhelming hit on their hands. It is classic and charming, and has a brilliant Ebenezer Scrooge in leading man Alistair Jolliffe.
The story of A Christmas Carol is well known and much repeated. A miserly man who has only a love of money is made to repent his ways when he is visited by a series of ghosts on Christmas Eve that show him his past, the present, and what could be a truly chilling future. Alistair Jolliffe brings Scrooge to life with aplomb, from his actions and mannerisms at his most miserly, to the joy when he dances with The Music Hall girls, absolutely one of the most joyous scenes in the musical.
The company is impressive throughout, and there is much to savour in the production, from the brilliant sets that reproduce Victorian London wonderfully, to the ensemble dance scenes like Christmas Eve at the Fezziwig’s Bank, a scene that is just so brilliantly exuburent. I loved the Jacob Marley visit, complete with other ghosts made to carry their chains (special mention to Pat Pryce flying through the room.) Whilst there is also the pathos of Bob Cratchit and his family, struggling to make ends meet, but making the most of what they have. The three ghosts (Rosie Harvey, Elliot Beech and Michaela Hinton) are also very good, with the first two bringing charm and humour, and the final ghost being the eerie spectre that is called for.
If you love A Christmas Carol, and really want to get in the mood for Christmas, then the BMOS production is to be highly recommended. I loved it, and when the lovely Tiny Tim said those immortal final words, I will admit I dabbed away a tear.
“God bless us, Every one!”
A Christmas Carol
Thu 28 Nov – Sat 30 Nov 2019
Click here for ticket information