A Christmas Carol at Bridge House Theatre.
I was back again, Hot Spiced Apple in hand, ready for the 2nd year of what I hope will become a firm tradition of seeing Bridge House Theatre’s Christmas shows! I’m coming to know that they are always a delight – and always sell out – so grab your tickets while you can! Whilst perhaps not as jolly as other Christmas shows – A Christmas Carol never fails to get me in the Christmas spirit and this production was no exception!
This retelling of Dickens’ classic took the form of a ‘play with music’, which might be my new favourite category of theatre, and starred Rachel Izen as Scrooge, accompanied by a hard working, multi-roling, actor muso cast of Ben Woods, Jamie Ross, and Saorla Wright.
I have to mention Ben Woods as a stand-out – his singing and guitar playing was truly beautiful, accompanying some very heartfelt scenes and adding a real depth to them without distracting at all from the poignant performances.
In such a small space, and with such a small cast, the production relied heavily on the actors’ physicality and staging to keep the audience in touch with where we were. In the astronomically unlikely event someone had never seen or heard about A Christmas Carol before – they may have struggled slightly to keep up with the setting, but if you know the story one iota, you’d have no trouble at all. All the cast changed their gait and physicality, spoke in different dialects and accents, used scarves and minute costume changes to portray a plethora of different characters – it was easy watching, which isn’t always the case with multi-roling. Only once did I struggle to keep up with who was whom in a big family scene with all 4 actors playing multiple characters.
The company utilise the intimacy of the theatre well – they pull you into the action time and time again – offering ‘Merry Christmas!’ hand shakes, and even involving you in a game of charades – we were robbed! Feeling so close to the actors really brings the sense of joy home throughout the happier scenes in the production – and I definitely left feeling like I could honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year!
Review by Mims Melville.
To find out more about a Christmas Carol at Bridge House Theatre then visit their website. The show is running until 22nd December.