Even the Ghost of Christmas Yet-To-Be didn’t foresee this…
Just a few hours before the opening night of this staged concert version of Dickens’ festive favourite it was announced that London would be going into Tier 3.
By the time this review is published the show will be in the bizarre situation of being about to close.
That’s a shame – because this uplifting production, directed by Shaun Kerrison, with vibrant musical accompaniment by the London Musical Theatre Orchestra led by Freddie Tapner, fills the Dominion’s giant auditorium full of Christmas cheer (and some snow if you’re lucky).
After the Bridge Theatre’s excellent – and somewhat darker – stripped back three-hander version, this Christmas Carol feels like a widescreen epic with a cast of thousands.
Brian Conley’s miserly Scrooge has a wonderfully rich delivery (I’d love to see him as Jean Valjean in Les Mis.) While it’s very much Conley’s show, there’s excellent vocal support from Jacqueline Jossa as Scrooge’s old flame Emily (and the silent Ghost of Christmas Future) and Sam Oladeinde as the young Scrooge.
I also really liked Lucie Jones’ fairy-like Ghost of Christmas Past and Cedric Neal’s fun-loving, dancing spirit of the Present.
The show really warms up in Act Two with memorable ensemble pieces like the energetic Abundance and Charity and the spooky chant of Dancing on your Grave.
At the end, an emotional Conley paid tribute to the hard work of the cast, orchestra and production team. “This is the weirdest, weirdest opening night I’ve ever had – it’s bizarre,” he said.
“Tonight is like a shining star in the darkness. It proves that we can do it. It’s not just about us, it’s about every show.”
“We will be back,” Conley promised, like a theatrical version of The Terminator.
Let’s hope it won’t be too long.
A Christmas Carol began previews at the Dominion Theatre on 7 December, opened on 14 December and closed on 15 December due to Covid restrictions.