Tommy Steele loves playing Scrooge so much he’s on his sixth tour with the Bill Kenwright musical. Audiences love watching him transform from mean to magnanimous in this great musical with live orchestra.

On the night I attended the packed audience in the Lyric Theatre give such a long ovation he has to tell them to go home.
This is not bad for a 74 year old. Yet his age doesn’t affect his energy levels especially vocally.
 
Charles Dickens story, first published in 1843, is as popular as ever and gives the Special Effects Department a field day, especially when the three ghosts appear to teach Scrooge the errors of his anti-Christmas ways. Paul Kieve is the clever illusionist behind the disappearance of spooks through walls who pop up again on empty chairs.
 
The most frightening ghost is the giant-sized, black-robed Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (Nick Blair).Compared with that evil spectre, Sarah Earnshaw’s Ghost of Christmas Past is more like a fairy godmother. James Head’s Ghost of Christmas Present appears on Scrooge’s bed dressed like a giant Henry VIII.
 
A fourth spirit is the chain-rattling Jacob Marley, Scrooge’s former partner, who predicts which spectres will appear.   Barry Howard creates a good balance between a former human being with concern for Scrooge and a dead partner returning to haunt him.
 
Scrooge’s conversion impacts mostly on Tiny Tim, the crippled son of his belittled employee Bob Cratchit (Edward Handell). On press night the child is played charmingly by nine-year-old Luca Davis from Macclesfield, the winner of the Lowry’s Search for Tiny Tim auditions.
 
In the words of one foot-taping song, "thank you very very much"  Mr Steele & Co for a fun and festive evening.

- Julia Taylor