This cosy festive musical treat is performed beautifully by the London Musical Theatre Orchestra.
It is always such a treat to listen to the London Musical Theatre Orchestra’s interpretation of Alan Menken, Lynn Ahrens and Mike Ockrent’s A Christmas Carol. The orchestra’s performance is always filled with passion and warmth that really brings the story, music and characters to such vivid life – with the help of an extremely strong cast as this latest revival of the musical proved.
Alan Menken’s distinctive and charming score combined with Lynn Ahren’s wonderfully poignant lyrics as well as Mike Ockrent’s lively book, ensures that Scrooge’s story is entertaining but offers a new perceptive of why he is the way he is by including a reference to his father being sent to jail – adding much needed sympathy for the character. It is a score that the LMTO know well having performed it for the last few years but each time it seems a richer and more dramatic rendition with each performance the orchestra offer audiences.
There are so many moments throughout which delight, thrill and even chill (as Jeremy Secomb’s powerful rendition of ‘Link by Link’ proves) that time passes almost too quickly as the story is delivered with great affection by the cast. Renditions of songs such as ‘A Place Called Home’ and ‘Christmas Together’ for example are performed with great emotion and warmth that it is difficult not to be drawn into the story, while ‘Mr Fezziwig’s Annual Christmas Ball’ doesn’t fail to get your toes tapping along.
The cast offer up wonderfully affectionate performances that capture the characters and the story well. Griff Rhys-Jones makes for a wonderfully gruff Scrooge but who is also clearly deeply traumatised by his past, highlighted by the moments in which he lets Emily break off their engagement and the sheer horror and pain he expresses when he discovers of Tiny Tim’s potential death are two of the show’s most powerful moments. Elsewhere, Cedric Neal makes for a delightfully jolly Ghost of Christmas Present, Miriam-Teak Lee has a beautiful tone to her voice that is comforting to listen to while David Hunter is a charismatic Bob Cratchit. But it has to be said that all of the young performers in the cast also delivered amazingly confident performances that consistently amazed, while the LMTO chorus added wonderful depth and richness to the music through their performances.
Shaun Kerrison’s production brings to life the strong connection that exists between all of the characters, while enhancing the importance of caring and understanding towards those less fortunate than ourselves. There is no doubting that this is a wonderful Christmas treat that deserves to be seen over and over again.
By Emma Clarendon
For more information about the London Musical Theatre Orchestra visit: http://www.lmto.org/