This new film version of the classic story beautifully combines film, music, dance and theatre to come across as a celebration of the arts as much as Christmas.
Offering a new adaptation of a beloved classic story effectively to highlight a new perspective can be terribly difficult. But this gorgeous new take on A Christmas Carol delights in its unconventional use of many different styles to capture the story.
The reason that this adaptation stands out from others is the way in which it uses dance to tell the story of Scrooge and his journey to redemption. There is no dialogue on screen – all the character’s speeches have been recorded off screen by a starry cast including Martin Freeman, Carey Mulligan and Andy Serkis.
Directed with a great sense of theatricality by Jacqui Morris and David Morris, the audience is swept into the world of A Christmas through the use a cardboard theatre. This cardboard theatre is then created on a life scale size brilliantly thanks to the production designs that give the whole piece a suitably eery feel, particularly during Jacob Marley’s ghostly appearance.
This adaptation by David Morris feels very authentic and close to the original book – particularly thanks to the use of plenty of the original text that combined with the dance and music elements creates great depth to the story and the characters. Meanwhile, the choreography is fluid and filled with expression it is hard not become emotionally connected to the characters particularly during poignant moments such as those between Scrooge and Belle and his sister that effectively capture a different side to Scrooge.
In terms of characterisations, the voice work of the cast is in perfect synchronisation with the dancers own movements and expressions to generate well rounded performances from all – filled with warmth and personality that keeps the audience thoroughly engaged with the story as it unfolds. In particular, Andy Serkis is delightfully chilling as Jacob Marley, while Martin Freeman offers a wonderfully warm and compassionate Bob and Simon Russell Beale captures the many different elements of Scrooge’s personality with thoughtful insight.
Overall, this version of A Christmas Carol retains a magical feeling, capturing the spirit of the story perfectly in a new and distinct way. It feels as though it is a celebration of the arts in all forms coming together for a special production and is compelling to watch from start to finish.
By Emma Clarendon
A Christmas Carol will be showing in UK cinemas and theatres from 4th December. To find out more about where you can watch it visit: https://www.achristmascarol2020.film/