A clock chimes: we are instantly transported to Dickensian London with roasted chestnuts, chimney sweeps, lanterns, a cobbled street, dim yet warm lighting – a chorus of the First Noel begins. We are in familiar territory, we instantly know what we are going to be watching: a VERY traditional famil- friendly version of Scrooge. An old school musical, that is beautifully crafted, and a well-staged production played for comic effect.
Gems of the production include the child-like magical tricks by which the ghosts of ‘past’, ‘present’ and ‘yet to come’ enter and exit the stage, the triumphant performance of The Minister’s Cat and Tiny Tim’s Solo.
Iconic as Tommy Steele is, and as much as the grandparents will adore him, “obnoxious, miser, skinflint, loathsome old carcass” i.e. Scrooge as we know him – sadly does not come across in this production. I felt Tommy Steele was playing Tommy Steele, playing a mixture of Rigsby from Rising Damp and Steptoe from the eponymously titled BBC Series. For many this is all well and good, yet not to my personal taste. The exaggerated characterisation and joyous pantomimic performances were easy to watch, yet for me, a little too far from the traditional Dickensian setting (zombie-fied dancers dancing the Michael Jackson Thriller routine and a heavily-chained Marley whose look was more Dame Edna than Haunting Ghost).
At this point, I should state that I’m not the target audience for this West End family spectacular. I can confidently state that the piece is very much aimed at a youthful audience young enough to submit to the true magic of the theatre in all its glory!
Scrooge is an all-singing, all-dancing musical. A production that will leave the child in you feeling warm-hearted and full of Christmas spirit!
Seeing their children smile and be excited by the magic of theatre really did seem worth the cost to the few parents I spoke to – whether it is worth the expense for a family night out is debatable in my mind – although saying that, when I heard the laughter of children echoing across the auditorium I did wonder if in fact it was me who was the Scrooge!”
Review by Faye who you can follow on Twitter @Faye3011
Monday to Saturday 7.30pm
Matinees: Thursday and Saturday 3.30pm
Booking Until: 12th Jan 2013
8 Argyll Street,
London, W1F 7TF
Tuesday 6th November 2012