A Christmas Carol, Assembly George Square Studios, Review

Submitted by Jon Cross on Fri, 10 Aug '18 2.12pm
Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Guy Masterson/TTI
Charles Dickens (writer), Nick Hennegan (director, adaptation)
Guy Masterson
Running time

Dickens’ timeless tale of redemption at Christmas is once again brought to life in this tour de force of a performance by an accomplished actor.

Using only a single chair and a raincoat, Guy Masterson manages to populate the stage with the familiar cast of characters – Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim, Old Fezziwig and the others – with enormous energy and enthusiasm.

This tale has been told so many times and in so many ways in films, animations, musicals – and one-man shows, so it is quite extraordinary that it still retains such a powerful hold over us. We all know that Tiny Tim is not going to die, but the very idea of it is still enough to move us to tears.

As the story is so very well-known, the critical focus has to be on how well it is told, and it is told very well, with as much focus on physical agility as verbal dexterity; the dancing at Fezziwig’s and the party games at Fred’s are particularly frantic. We might have expected a little more contrast between the voices of Jacob Marley, The Ghost of Christmas Past and The Ghost of Christmas Present, rather than just a mild echo effect to indicate that we were in the world of spirits.

The story moves along with great pace, rushing towards its joyful and convivial conclusion.

A Christmas Carol is a faithful and impressive re-telling of a classic. Just don’t expect anything particularly innovative or arresting in the way it is staged. Dickens himself frequently performed over-the-top dramatized versions of his own work. He would have loved this show.

August 4-27 (Not 13) 12:00