A Christmas Carol review – Christopher Eccleston is magnificent as Scrooge | Theatre | Entertainment

Estimated read time 2 min read

It’s that time of year when rival theatre adaptations of Charles Dickens’ classic novella are put on around the country to varying quality.

But there’s one version of A Christmas Carol in particular that returns annually to London’s The Old Vic since 2017.

Penned by Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’s scribe Jack Thorne, this take on the 1843 ghost story has had a number of celebrity Scrooges from Rhys Ifans to Andrew Lincoln.

And now former Doctor Who legend Christopher Eccleston has been cast as the miserable miser for the 6th revival of the popular production.

An immersive piece, before the show even begins, cast members in black capes and top hats greet you in your seats around an extended stage, with complimentary mince pies and satsumas being handed out.

Meanwhile, above us was an eclectic mix of lanterns; an embodiment of the twinkly magic we were about to be witness to.

Throughout the show, there’s accompanying live folk music around the minimalist stage with its rising and falling doorways and blocks of money ledgers that get hidden in the flooring.

In this adaptation, the three Christmas ghosts are sadly replaced by three similar women with prams, who are more like the Fates. Nevertheless, Jacob Marley with his endless train of the chains he forged in life is a real highlight. And there’s there’s Eccleston’s Scrooge.

The veteran thespian, who is magnificent in the role, dispenses of his natural Northern twang for the gravelly poshness of a 19th-century moneylender.

His Scrooge fumes, storming around the stage violently bolting and unbolting doors as he’s confronted by both the living and dead.

The best moment of the night comes with the redeemed lead’s infectious joy when props fly around the theatre in a spectacle of festive wonderment. It’s no wonder this adaptation keeps drawing audiences back year after year.  

A Christmas Carol is performed at The Old Vic until January 6, 2024 and tickets can be booked here.

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