Friday, 12 December 2014

Derby Theatre: A Sprited Christmas Carol. Review

“A Spirited Production!”

If there is a ghost of a chance of getting a ticket or two to take yourself or the family to see Derby Theatre's terrific production of Dicken's classic tale of A Christmas Carol, adapted by Neil Duffield and directed by Sarah Brigham, then do so. Missing this show would almost be like missing Christmas and time is ticking by.

A Christmas Carol is set on a fantastic set design (Neil Irish) depicting the industrial North, all chimney stacks and smoke centred by a massive clock face that references time passing and a local hint at Smith's clock works. The crystal clear sound design is created once again by Ivan Stott. The set has a revolve that allows characters to come and go in a frozen state that breaks into animation. It is like watching a picture book come to life. In fact the whole show is a fantastical display of invention slickly done and using the whole ensemble.

The ensemble is made up of professional performers and groups of young local children and teens who all morph into the well known characters and more. This includes live music and some beautifully sung Christmas songs and carols. At times the vocals are truly enchanting.

As the central role of Ebenezer Scrooge we have Jim Barclay in fine form as the old curmudgeon who gradually sees the error of his miserly ways. Although hard bitten and miserable at the outset Barclay still manages to infuse some humour into his part and comes into his comic own during the various party scenes. The end part where he arrives at the house of his nephew Fred and assembled guests is genuinely touching. Fred is played by local actor Adam Horvarth with great sincerity and warmth.

In an ensemble work the whole team is the 'star' of the show and this is certainly the case in Derby Theatre's production except maybe one extra shiny personality. I can almost hear Christopher Price begging me not to write this but his brilliant portrayals of Marley, Old Fezziwig, The Ghost of Christmas Present and Old Joe were outstanding. Plus he is in the ensemble and plays various musical instruments.

The professional cast made up of Jim Barclay, Daniel David, Adam Horvarth, Yana Penrose, Christopher Price, Kate Robson – Stuart, Eseme Sears and Daniel Willis all contrive to make Derby Theatre's A Christmas Carol a superb show worth singing out loud about!

Runs until Sunday 4th January 2015

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