Monday, December 24, 2012

REVIEW: Scrooge - The Musical (London)

London Palladium (London), Thursday December 20

For my show marathon (14 shows in 13 days), I chose Scrooge - The Musical to kick it off. I suppose this is one way to get myself into the whole Christmas vacation mood. I have seen Scrooge sevaral times... in fact, the last one was the Hong Kong Repertory Theatre production in 2009 featuring one of Hong Kong's best musical theatre actor Pichead Amornsomboon. I have never been a big fan of this musical, but hey, this London Palladium production featuring 76-year old Tommy Steele! Okay, no high expectation here, but still...

For a 76-year old performer, Steele was fabulous... wait, the fact is that for whatever age, the performance was a good one. Steele was able to engage the audience and one can indeed feel that Steele has a special place in the heart of British audience. The audience was most receptive to his quirkiness and his slapsticks. I do wish though that there was a bit more singing and less talking on pitch.

The production was good but it couldn't escape it's made-for-tour look. In the parts where Scrooge was visited by the different ghosts, the special effects and theatrical trickery was simple yet was appropriate and effective. The result doesn't come more effective than when one sees people jump or children cry. 

Steele was supported by a very competent cast and some of the more memorable performances came from Edward Handoll's sensitive yet extrovert performance. Barry Howard and Ian Caddick as Jacob Marley and Jocelyn Jollygoode respectively gave a superb good old fashion performance.

Scrooge was not the best show in town, but nothing beats it is as the most timely one season-wise or economy-wise.

London Palladium from October 24th – January 5th
Book, music and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse

Creative Team:
director: Bob Tomson
producer: Bill Kenwright Ltd
designer: Paul Farnsworth
choreographer: Lisa Kent
lighting designer: Nick Richings
sound: Ben Harrison

Cast include:
Ebenezer Scrooge– Tommy Steele
Jacob Marley – Barry Howard
Ghost Of Christmas Past – Sarah Earnshaw
Ghost Of Christmas Present – James Head
Bob Cratchit – Edward Handoll
Helen / Isobel – Leonie Heath
Mr Fezziwig / Hugo Harty – Halcro Johnston
Harry / Young Ebenezer – Craig Whitely
Tom Jenkins – Robbie Towns
Mrs Fezziwig / Mrs Dilber – Tessa Vale
Topper – Leon Kay
Mary / Miss Dilber – Anna Mcgarahan
Mrs Cratchit – Louisa Maxwell
Mr Jollygoode – Ian Caddick
Pringle – Steven Sparling
Dick Wilkins – Johnathan Dudley
Beggar Woman – Nikki Gerrard
Chestnut Seller – Roisin Sullivan
Bess – Natalie Moore Williams
Butcher – Kieron Harris

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