Christmas Carol: A Fairy Tale at Wilton’s Music Hall
With every new adaptation of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol comes a certain amount of risk – that it will be too similar or too removed from the original. But Wilton Music Hall’s spectacular fairy tale reimagining of this festive classic finds the sweet spot between the two, transporting 21st-century feminism into Victorian London (with a spot of time travel for good measure).
The play, written by Piers Torday and masterfully directed by Stephanie Street, follows a woman named Fan Scrooge (Sally Dexter) – sister of the infamous Ebeneezer and widow of the first ghostly visitor, Jacob Marley (Brandan Hooper). Scrooge isn’t trying to have it all and in fact, she’s trying to have very little to do with anyone or anything, especially Christmas.
Cue an unwelcome visit from her deceased husband, who warns her that she will be visited by three ghosts in an attempt to turn her cold heart warm. The first (Ruth Ollman) shows her Christmases of the past, when her brother came home from school for the holidays and her father tightened his purse strings. The second (Edward Harrison) is a ghost living a little too much in the moment. The third (Chrisara Agor/Ruth Ollman), undeniably the most unsettling of all, reveals to Scrooge the things to come.
All actors deliver captivating performances in their variety of roles, swapping between each one with marvellous ease. From accents to puppetry, every cast member deserves their own standing ovation. However, the costumes, beautifully crafted and wonderfully imaginative, are what make this play an unmissable experience. No spoilers – but the second ghost will leave you in awe.
However, this is not a simple rendition of A Christmas Carol with a gender swap. A carefully constructed narrative of female intersectionality is woven throughout, with comments on familial labour raising cheers from the audience. Scrooge is determined not to live in the world that men have made for her, having carved her own path in life in spite of their oppression. But where she transcends her time in some areas, she stays resolute in others and it’s down to her fellow characters to change her ways. Dispersing seeds of encouragement for both Scrooge and audience alike, they ask us to consider those less fortunate and how all they want is what everyone else has.
This magical and heartwarming adaption of the Dickens classic is not one to be missed this Christmas season.
Photos: Nobby Clark
Christmas Carol is at Wilton’s Music Hall from 29th November until 4th January 2020. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.