The Best of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol is a magical new interpretation of Charles Dickens’ timeless story from London’s The Old Vic, and is a big-hearted, smash hit production, brimming with Christmas spirit.

Winner of 5 Tony Awards, this new production of A Christmas Carol, adapted by Jack Thorne (co-writer of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) stars the legend of Australian cinema, David Wenham in the role of the ‘bah humbugging’ Ebenezer Scrooge. This performance marks David’s return to the live stage after ten years and he certainly makes up for lost time. His gruff and grumpy characterisation of Scrooge is spot on and he brings a real energy and intensity to the role. This is then juxtaposed beautifully in the second act after Scrooge’s moment of catharsis when he shakes off his hard exterior and releases his inner Christmas spirit. David’s performance is truly heart-felt and nothing short of stunning.

David is joined by Bernard Curry, Debra Lawrance Anthony Harkin and a cast of sixteen who make up the ensemble, playing multiple characters and bringing some reimagined cherished Christmas carols to life on the stage through singing and dancing with some magical handbell playing. The cast are joined on stage at times by a live band who bring a touch of folk to the performance with some toe tapping tunes that will have you clapping along in your seats. The ensemble is truly magnificent throughout the performance and invite the audience to interact at several moments within the show which certainly makes for a fun experience. A definite highlight of the performance was the audience’s involvement in assembling the Christmas feast and also being presented with mandarins and delectable mince pies by the performers prior to the show commencing.

Directed by Matthew Warchus (Matilda the Musical), the performance was at times chilling and yet in other moments heart-warming and beautiful. Children who are easily scared might struggle in some moments of the first act; however, will love the fun and frivolity of the second. The set design was very simple and clever, being transformed by the actors into multiple locations and creating the dark and eerie feeling of the Dickensian Victorian London. The lighting very effectively manipulated the mood of the performance and helped create some magical moments on the stage. Sound and some special FX also really worked hand in hand to create some of the more suspenseful/chilling moments in the show as well as bringing the feeling of magic in the performance.

If you are looking for a show to awaken your Christmas spirit, or are simply a fan of incredible theatrical productions with top-notch acting performances, then this is the perfect show for you. Even Scrooge himself would struggle not to adore this incredible piece of theatre.

A Christmas Carol is playing at Melbourne’s Comedy Theatre on Exhibition St. until December 29, 2022.

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By Michael Kent