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A Christmas Carol on the Bridge Theatre evaluation: ding dong!


his is a delight – a cockle-warming, chestnut-roasting, heart-filling slice of Christmas comfort. Nicholas Hytner’s adaptation of Charles Dickens’s Yuletide stalwart makes the story breathe afresh, banishing the spectre of over-familiarity.  

The very good solid of Simon Russell Beale, Patsy Ferran and Eben Figueiredo alternately narrate and inhabit the motion over a brisk 90 minutes, conjuring up a bunch of characters with minimal adjustments of costume and few props.  

Russell Beale, although querulous and pugnaciously stooped, can be an unusually nuanced Scrooge, which makes the miser’s conversion to Christmas pleasure all of the extra shifting. It’s becoming too, {that a} story of hope, friendship and love ought to arrive simply as we see gentle on the finish of the darkish, gloomy tunnel of 2020.

Designer Rose Revitt strews the Bridge stage with safes, coffers and money packing containers that double as desks, beds and gravestones. The ceiling is hung with chains that evoke the purgatorial bondage of Scrooge’s ghostly associate, Marley, however which turn out to be at a trice boughs laden with berries or strings of fairylights.  

The manufacturing can flip emotionally on a sixpence, too. Scrooge is one second hateful in his buttoned-up misanthropy, the following pitiable. Scenes of revelry on the Fezziwigs give option to the pretty terrifying look of the Ghost of Christmas But to Come, and the grotesque youngster puppets of Need and Ignorance.

The storytelling framework offers the present a robust narrative core, enabling Hytner to be playful across the edges. The costumes are a mixture of modern and Victorian and there are a few wry anachronisms: a short however hilarious dance routine, a mountain bike, even a Christmas jumper or three.  

Figueiredo flips from a contemporary road argot to acquired pronunciation to Indian and Caribbean accents. Everybody swaps between genders, with Ferran notably affecting as Scrooge’s put-upon clerk Bob Cratchit. This looks like a mirrored image of polyglot, teeming London then and now, although, and a celebration of creativeness and the mercurial artwork of performing, slightly than something extra troubling.

Russell Beale is as dependably wonderful as ever, initially expelling festive phrases from his mouth as if they’re lumps of turkey-gristle, then virtually mad in his pleasure after Scrooge’s conversion. Ferran, one in all our most interesting youthful actors, brings delicate shades of subtlety to every half she performs right here. Figueiredo, a comparatively new face who virtually stole Cyrano de Bergerac from James McAvoy on the Playhouse final 12 months, provides the manufacturing’s zest and vitality. All three work in good concord.

The capability of London theatres to bounce again from close to catastrophe has been extraordinary. None extra so than the Bridge, which saved audiences going with gritty monologues within the first lockdown and now palms over this attractive, considerate, superlatively packaged Christmas current. If you will get maintain of a ticket, deal with your self.  

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