REVIEW: Spectacle and drama aplenty in RSC's A Christmas Carol

Picture: Manuel Harlan
Picture: Manuel Harlan

John Hardeman reviews A Christmas Carol, presented by the RSC at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford

Spectacular is the all embracing word that can be used most aptly to describe this David Edgar adaptation of the Charles Dickens’ seasonal classic.

Edgar, regarded as one of Britain’s greatest living writers, gives unique emphasis to a most loved tale of redemption and compassion.

The production opens with Dickens being challenged by his publisher over a literary choice of subject, and then develops into something of a rapidly moving colourful and riotous musical.

However, the second half covers a more dramatic message of abject poverty and deprivation in 19th-century England, and an underlying and desperate need for social justice.

But this enthralling work is never dreary and, being billed as suitable for seven year olds and upwards, is guaranteed sell out audiences.

There is a huge cast headed by the ebullient Phil Davis as Scrooge, and the towering sets, dress and stage business are striking enhancements.

In summary this is a hugely entertaining production.

* A Christmas Carol runs until Sunday February 4. Call 01789 403493 to book.