The Flanagan’s Collective’s A Christmas Carol, Above the Arts Theatre

Does this immersive production get its audiences in the Christmas spirit or is it all bah, humbug!

The Flanagan Collective’s A Christmas Carol is not usually something I would feature in a blog called View from the Cheap Seat because at prices ranging from £39.90 to staggering £50.40 you may think I have lost my mind but this is immersive dinner theatre and for that price includes an incredible two course meal, shared with your audience members.

Hot beef mince pies with suet pastry and marrowbone 
Whole Cumberland sausage rings
Pumpkin, kale and goats cheese pie (Vegetarian)
Roasted potatoes with garlic and thyme (Vegetarian & Vegan and Gluten free)
Orange glazed carrots with chestnuts (Vegetarian & Vegan and Gluten free)
English mustard in pots (Vegetarian & Vegan)
Jugs of gravy
Mince pies (Vegetarian )
Plum and apple pudding with flaming brandy and custard (Vegetarian)
Cheese board with Christmas chutney, crackers and grapes (Vegetarian)

The meal, provided by Danny Jack’s Humble Kitchen is fantastic. I had the meat options and there is a lot of passing potatoes, making sure everyone has enough pie and hottest mince pies that it feels like a proper family Christmas. I am a greedy woman but even I couldn’t manage to the full second course.

A Christmas Carol (c) Mat Johns (3).jpgAs you arrive and our seated, don’t worry if you miss out on the big table you will be seated for the meal, the spirit of Jacob Marley (Jack Whitam) arrives and explains that you are all spirits too and our guests in the home of a certain Ebeneezer Scrooge (Al Barclay) and he needs our help in making Scrooge a better man as he shows him his present, his past and what could be his future if he doesn’t change. What follows is games, food, music and laughter in a Victorian lounge and it is a fun night. It is definitely a classy alternative to the office Christmas parties and there were a few groups there.

A Christmas Carol is being done to death in London this Christmas and why not; it is a wonderful story and in a time of benefit sanctions, housing problems and food banks the world is seeming quite Victorian in its outlook right now but this is very much inspired by the story. There are ghosts, there is redemption but primarily this is a really nice way of getting together. I took my boyfriend, who was initially horrified by the interactivity and socialising aspect but accepted it once mince pies were offered. Even though my boyfriend felt he was picked on more than anyone else (He was asked his name and briefly had to pretend to be Tiny Tim) there is nothing humiliating or awkward, especially when the more lubricated members of the audience were called on to play a Yes/No game. The performances by Whitam and Barclay are strong and I enjoyed the brief chat I had with Scrooge about my Christmas plans.


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