A Christmas Carol at the Groundlings - Review
|Published: 28th December 2010 15:47|
The Groundlings Theatre Company's new premises, The Old Benny, is an apt place to present "A Christmas Carol." Its eerie atmosphere and Victorian feel could not be better suited to such a classic tale.
So I was a little surprised to find the likes of Dolly Parton's "9 to 5" and High School Musical's "We're All in This Together" as part of the show.
But that's the beauty of this youthful cast - they were certainly mixing it up a bit and enjoying themselves.
The young Eddie Manning, 12, who provided the narrative throughout was eloquent and stayed in character even when standing on the sidelines. Veteran Peter Sowerbutt played Scrooge and was the obvious professional of the show. His transformation from Humbug to Joie de vive was fantastic. Peter is a regular colleague of David Blood who played a very likeable Bob Cratchitt.
When your eyes are drawn to mainly one person on a stage, you know you have spotted a potential star - in this case, it was flame-haired beauty, Emma Uden, who kept us enthralled with a Marilyn-style rendition of "Scroogey Baby". She was certainly one of the better singers. Her sassy and confident performance as the Ghost of Christmas Present stood out as one of the best.
A mention must also be made of the performance of Charlotte Kenna as grieving mother, Mrs Cratchitt. Her portrayal of dealing with the loss of Tiny Tim as shown by the Ghost of Christmas Future was the strongest point in her performance.
The bonus to seeing the show at the Groundlings is that Christmas dinner is included, so the first turkey and Christmas pud' of the season went down very well. The only drawback to this is being seated around tables means that you have to turn your head to watch, giving you a sore neck if you don't move your chair. Another point to bear in mind is that you are at ground level whilst looking up to the stage.
All in all, the cast did very well with what they are working with. The acoustics of the theatre are quite unforgiving and you can hear every squeak and footstep. They made use of the whole room though which added another interesting aspect to the experience. The show is interactive too so be prepared to become part of the show, especially if you are near the front.
A Christmas Carol at the Groundlings is a mix of tradition and contemporary fun. Whether it suits the die hard Dickensian fans is another matter but for us, it provided an evening with a difference - and in the words of my seven year old High School Musical-loving daughter, "That was really good."
The show is running at the Old Benny in Kent Street, Portsea, until the 2nd January. Tickets cost £18 / Cons £12.50, family tickets £54
For more information and to book, go to www.groundlings.co.uk.