A Christmas Carol at the Crescent

In the true spirit of delving head first into the deep end of the festive spirit I went to see A Christmas Carol at the Crescent theatre in Birmingham. At £8 a ticket, I thought it worth a punt to welcome the yuletide season.

I love the story of A Christmas Carol - grumpy, rich man strives to redeem himself after being shown the error of his selfish ways by a variety of supernatural beings and save his soul from eternal torment, already suffered by his late and similarly selfishly inclined partner.

The version at the Crescent was produced by their in house theatre company and directed by Alan K. Marshall. Whilst I would struggle not to enjoy a retelling of the Dickens classic, I did feel this rendition was somewhat lacking.

The cast, whilst appropriately chosen, did seem to lack an amount of passion within their roles. Scrooge didn't seem nearly as cold in the heart as I feel he should be, and some of the younger cast though did a cracking job for their ages, just felt a little unbelievable and emotionless. I was particularly disappointed with the portrayal of Jacob Marley, who instead of being a terrifying spectre intent on filling Scrooge with dread, became almost comedic, and at times incomprehensible thanks to him shouting almost every line. Scrooge's half hearted responses didn't do much to assist this. At least the cast were all well made up, looking the part in their costumes and makeup.

The cast had good presence on the stage and filled the space with the effective scenery well. The prop for the final spirit however was extremely cheesy, and it's bright green LED eyes weren't nearly as evil as I assume the director thought they were.

I did enjoy the score, mixing motifs from Christmas carols with filmic music, however the quality of the sound in general seemed poor. Edits between tracks and sound effects seemed abrupt; levels were quite erratic and I found myself struggling to hear the cast occasionally. The noise of the movement on the stage often hampered my enjoyment of the music, too, not to mention the added effects from a nearby latecomer's mobile phone (definitely not blaming the theatre for this, just wanted to add it in!).

Despite these negatives, I still enjoyed the performance, and it did help me get into something resembling a festive feeling, though had it been more than £8, which it is for the evening performance (£15) I think my disappointment wouldn't so easily dissipate.

Thanks for reading!

For more information, visit The Crescent Theatre website.


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