The Rose Theatre helps audiences get into the festive spirit with this heartwarming and occasionally slightly scary production of Charles Dickens classic tale. 

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Opening and closing the show with a song and dance routine is certainly the right way to get people into the spirit of the show and from then on the audience is swept into a Dickens style London – with the help of a few special effects.

The story of Scrooge and his journey from being a bad tempered man to one who finds redemption with the help of three spirits is one that is familiar at this time of year. But what makes Ciaran McConville’s production stand out is its atmospheric and almost grown up feel about it but that children will also enjoy as well.

There is plenty of energy and pace about the production as well as plenty of character depth that really makes the audience feel as though they are part of these characters lives for the duration.

Martin Ball as Scrooge is convincing as he realises that his behaviour and attitude towards other people has affected their lives in the wrong way and his path to redemption is extremely heart warming to watch. occasionally though he is in danger of coming across as slightly petulant – particularly when mimicking other characters.

There are other performances that should be noted. The youth in the cast (team red on the evening I saw it) carry out their roles as professionally as any of the adult cast, adding to the believability to the performance as well as charm and humour that puts a smile on faces.

Paul Hawkyard as Fezziwig and Ghost of Christmas Present is a delight to watch showing charm and charisma throughout his performance.

While the production has plenty of humour and warmheartedness about it, there are also moments that really do chill you – Jacob Marley’s entrance and the appearance of the Ghost of Christmas past for example are thrillingly brought to life thanks to the wonderful quality of the projections by Timothy Bird and sound by Leigh Davies.

The only thing that is a bit bewildering is the number of narrators needed to convey parts of the story in between the action – four does seem a little too many when one could have done. This means that the story can become a little all over the place – particularly when Scrooge is supposed to be alone in his room yet he is apparently talking to the narrators.

However, this is a minor quibble in this authentic production that really evokes the Christmas spirit – particularly with the number of Christmas carols that are joyfully sung throughout the show.

If you are looking for a Christmas production that isn’t a pantomime and you and your children can have fun watching then make sure that you come and see this.

A Christmas Carol runs at the Rose Theatre in Kingston until the 3rd January. For more information and to book tickets visit: http://www.rosetheatrekingston.org/whats-on/a-christmas-carol

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