A Christmas Carol ★★★ Painted Hall, Old Royal Naval College | December 3 - 30, 2021


Goblin Theatre's production of A Christmas Carol looks wonderful in the glorious Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich. However, the visual splendour comes at a price – the room has a huge echo which makes many of the words unintelligible. The cast was strong but only Rob Gathercole, who plays Jacob Marley and the narrator, had the requisite stentorian tones to pierce the massive reverberation. Unfortunately, we found that the casting of Mia Jerome as Scrooge didn't work for us in this instance. She didn't conjure up the necessary innate unpleasantness of the horrible old man, and this meant that the final epiphany was somewhat dissipated. Andrew Barry's direction used the space very well indeed; however, Matt Borgatti's adaptation of Dickens' original was only sporadically successful, The joke about Tiny Tim's adult life engendered the biggest laugh of the evening but, for us, was in dubious taste. Specially composed music by Will Dollard and Mary Erskine created a jaunty atmosphere when necessary and was exceptionally well sung and played. Everything looked immaculate, with very clever use of a huge central desk and luggage to conceal props and fabrics. In fact, the whole visual side of the show displayed real style and invention; climbing up onto the desk to add an extra dimension worked particularly well. This is a daring enterprise which almost succeeds, and it certainly deserves to be seen in this spectacular setting.

Rated: ★★★

Reviewed by D.S.J.
Photo by The Other Richard.

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