Jagaul.com Arts Entertainments A Christmas Carol at Middle Temple Hall review – Atmospheric musical shines | Theatre | Entertainment

A Christmas Carol at Middle Temple Hall review – Atmospheric musical shines | Theatre | Entertainment

Every festive season there are several rival offerings of A Christmas Carol across London’s theatres to choose from.

Amid the big budget productions like Christopher Eccleston’s Scrooge at the Old Vic and Mark Gatiss’ ghostly take on Charles Dickens’ story at Ally Pally, is a smaller and less well-known treat that’s been around for quite a lot longer.

Antic Disposition, best known for innovative interpretations of classic plays and stories with an emphasis on Shakespeare, have been putting on their version of the festive tale at Middle Temple Hall for six sell-out seasons since 2014.

The wood-panelled Elizabethan space towers above the audience, with portraits of long-dead kings looming over us. We sat in a squared horseshoe around the centre of the room; mulled wine and mince pie in hand from the in-house Bar Humbug.

What followed was a real treat and probably the most atmospheric stage production of A Christmas Carol we’ve ever seen.

This version of the Dickens classic is a musical, with most of the songs expertly taking well-known Christmas carol tunes and rewriting the lyrics to the story. What was particularly impressive was witnessing that half the band were also half the cast; playing multiple roles, singing and tooting along on a musical instrument.

To add to this, the best use of the space was the show’s lighting and sound effects. At one point a Christmas tree’s lights were turned off, leaving us in darkness before the sudden appearance of the spookier spectres like Jacob Marley and the Ghost of Christmas Future.

David Burt’s Scrooge, which he’s played several times in this production, was deliciously menacing, while Gabriel Akamo’s Fezziwig/Ghost of Christmas Present was a particular highlight with his booming merriment.

Aside from the wonderful mashup of festive brightness and ghostly gloom, there were times when it was quite difficult to hear the cast members, who either needed to project more or have a microphone given they were often competing with the sound of the excellent score. Nevertheless, this musical was a real find that will leave even the most Scroogey of us feeling extremely Christmassy.

Antic Disposition’s A Christmas Carol runs at Middle Temple Hall until Saturday, December 30 with two shows a day except for Christmas Day and Boxing Day when there are none. To book tickets, click here.

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