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Scrooge (Tour - Manchester)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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The musical genre is often recognised for its provision of entertainment, scholar Richard Dyer commenting on it’s ability to produce ‘Alternatives, hopes and wishes’ in a Utopian world, away from the everyday. We may be trapped in a recession, the idea of shopping for your loved ones might be your idea of a nightmare, yet Scrooge The Musical offers the ideal diversion, with a spectacle that is guaranteed to raise your Christmas Spirits!

An adaptation of Dickens’ famous novella, A Christmas Carol, the musical remains true to the original narrative, telling of the retribution of a money conscious misery, Scrooge, who is transported into the past, present and future by three spirits on Christmas Eve.

As soon as the curtain rises, you know you are in for a treat, the magnificently magical set being enough to trigger applause from the audience. With beautiful traditional costumes, a perfectly focused cast and stereotypical characters for children and adults to enjoy, the rest of the production does not disappoint.

Full cast numbers surpass all expectations, harmonies being delivered flawlessly and female sopranos filling you with festive glee. ‘"Thankyou Very Much" from Act Two will indisputably remain on replay in your head for weeks! Some songs, however, are too similar, the score being in need of more variation.

Tommy Steele has characterised greedy Scrooge marvellously, his appearance, voice and movement being entirely believable. Additionally, Tiny Tim, played by Harrison Shoemark, is absolutely adorable, having a magical connection with Geoffrey Abbot, whose role is as Scrooge’s initially mistreated apprentice, Bob Cratchitt.

The gothic aspect of the novel is interpreted well, taking into consideration its family target audience by not making scenes too daunting. Nonetheless, the giant that is the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is scarily reminiscent of one of Rowling’s ‘Death Eaters!’

Sometimes the piece becomes too melodramatic, forced laughing and exaggerated movements occasionally needing to be toned down. Furthermore, there was a slight humbug at the start of the performance, when Scrooge’s desk got stuck on the stage, leaving no alternative but for the curtains to be closed for a good five minutes.

Such minor flaws do not distract from what is ultimately a well rehearsed, ‘all singing, all dancing, all acting’ show that will leave you beaming from ear to ear. Get your mittens out, scarves at the ready, and head straight for the Palace Theatre. Don’t be a Scrooge- Christmas is nearly here!

-Rebecca Cohen


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