Review: A Christmas Carol – Brighton Little Theatre
I must confess that as a mother of two young children, the type of theatre productions I now frequent in December can be quite placid with a familiar feast of shouting, pointing and booing.
Obviously, an adaption of the Charles Dickens' classic A Christmas Carol was never going to evoke the same reactions as a pantomime, but I found myself totally unprepared for the emotional rollercoaster I faced when I went along to the Brighton Little Theatre's festive offering.
My daughter and I were absolutely enthralled and felt every twist and turn as the Christmas ghost story unfolded in front of us as we sat in the front row of the cosy theatre, which seats just 70 people.
This adaptation – directed by Suzanne Heritage, Mimi Goddard and Steven Adams – ticked every box for me.
We had laughter, mainly thanks to Leigh Ward and his grunts and groans as Ebeneza Scrooge and the brilliant Josie Wicks and Amy Wicks as they try to sell the wares they have acquired from a dead man; we got angry as we saw the cold-hearted Scrooge at his worst; we felt fear and suspense when we knew the next spirit was about to appear; and then utter joy as we are immersed into a happy dancing scene at Mr Fezziwig's and were treated to the harmonious sounds of the cast singing carols.
There was also plenty of warmth, especially when we could see the hope and happiness on Scrooge's face as he starts to see the error of his ways.
And then there were tears combined with amazement as the actors took on the role of puppeteers.
The use of puppets to portray the characters of the children was a masterstroke.
Any doubt in my mind that the idea worked was erased when I found myself with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes as I watched the scene in the Cratchit's home we had dreaded.
The whole cast was fantastic but for me Leigh Ward and Neil Turk-Thompson – Bob Cratchit – stole the show.
I must also mention the complicated set and the seamless scene and prop changes, which were miraculous given the size of the theatre and stage. We even had snow!
I took my seven-year-old daughter Ruby along. Ruby has been showing a keen interest in theatre and has been busy preparing for her own Christmas production at school. Ruby was absolutely mesmerised.
This was definitely no pantomime but the Brighton Little Theatre has done something pretty magical here.
They have managed to keep the integrity of a Dickens' classic tale while giving the audience something that was anything but predictable.
A Christmas Carol at Brighton Little Theatre runs until December 14 but all shows are sold out and were fully booked before the run even started.
So a huge congratulations to all involved.
Find out more at www.brightonlittletheatre.com