Review Round Up: A Christmas Carol, Dominion Theatre

We round up the reviews from last night’s press performance of this musical at the Dominion Theatre.

WhatsOnStage: *** “It’s fun rather than frightening, jolly rather than admonitory. With the London Musical Theatre Orchestra joyfully conducted by Freddie Tapner taking up most of the stage, director Shaun Kerrison concentrates on keeping the movement fluid and front and centre, helped by projections designed by George Reeve that swiftly and effectively change the scene. There are some lively performances from the ensemble; the children are uniformly attractive, Matt Jay-Willis is an engaging Bob Cratchit, and Jeremy Secomb a surprisingly jaunty Marley’s ghost.”

The Upcoming: **** “The backstage team do a great job: the costumes and props look like they dropped out of the 1840s, and the ghosts are inventive whilst remaining true to the book. It’s great to be able to see the orchestra – harp and all – perform along with the cast, and they provide sound effects with perfect timing.”

London Theatre Direct: “Brian Conley leads the cast in the iconic role of Ebenezer Scrooge, who is effortlessly commanding, funny and sincere in all the tones that this character demands.”

The Arts Desk: *** “A special shout-out, too, to Freddie Tapner’s lustrous-sounding London Musical Theatre Orchestra, who are arrayed onstage in full view and deserve all the kudos that come their way.”

The Guardian: **** “The three ghosts are characterful – the fairy, an American impresario (Cedric Neal) and finally a mute, gothic figure in a hood and eye-mask (Jacqueline Jossa). There is no single, stand-out performance, rather the cast emanates collective synergy.”

London *** “On its own uncomplicated terms, though, it’s cheerily enjoyable. Conley is a lightweight Scrooge – his redemption would mean more if it came at a greater emotional cost – but he’s nimble and suitably gruff, revelling in each hammy snarl and in his giddy final transformation. He’s supported by an ensemble crammed with highly coloured cameos. Former Busted boy-bander Matt Jay Willis’s likeable, unusually buff Bob Cratchit needs greater pathos; Sandra Marvin (Emmerdale), on the other hand, delivers megawatt charisma and sublime, quasi-operatic vocals as Mrs Fezziwig at an Oom Pah-Pah-ish Christmas ball.”

Pocket Size Theatre: ***** “The whole production is directed with great skill and ingenuity by Shaun Kerrison and backed by some excellent video and graphics by George Reeve projected on the large screen above the band and has the feel of a high production value West End show with great musicality and fresh and lively touches.”

The Times: *** “As another famous Dickensian character once said: “Please, sir, I want some more.” More, that is, of Brian Conley, who played a dark and growling Scrooge in this amiable show, but didn’t quite spend enough time in the spotlight.”

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