A Christmas Carol , LOST Theatre
This musical version, with music by Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast) and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens (Ragtime) and the Dickens story adapted by Ahrens and Mike Ockrent (Me and My Girl) is rarely staged in the West End and I am wondering why this American classic has never taken off in the UK.
Everyone knows the story of A Christmas Carol (if you don’t I have reviewed two other versions here and here) but what brings gravitas to LOST’s production is Piers Garnham as Scrooge, who not only brings a wonderful singing voice to Menken and Ahrens rich work but a charm that I have rarely seen in Scrooges, who is usually played as miserly and unhappy then suddenly happy. Garnham plays the gradual regret and sadness at how Scrooge has lived with subtlety and skill.
It is a strong cast in a production that doesn’t really get going until Jacob Marley (Richard Lounds, a recent Central School graduate and real talent), his business partner and now ghostly apparition, appears to sing to Link by Link, which is a great song and is aided by James Thacker’s excellent choreography. The cast are fantastic, especially those playing multiple characters and never letting up on what is a very energetic production.
The only negative is the sound, which drowns out some of the singers and much of the background music seems to make the child members of the inaudible. It seemed slightly better in the second half but it was a real shame to not be able to fully hear Katrina Winters (as the cheery ghost of Christmas Past) belt out Lights of Long Ago due to the music being much louder than the singers.
The LOST is a small theatre but a relatively large cast plus creative use of projections in Mark Magill’s production design and beautiful costumes (James Thacker and Mark Magill) feels like a major and expensive production. There is some great use of space by the directors (Magill and Martin John Bristow) and I particularly liked the use of projection images of parts of the production so the cast could get changed for the next scene. As family shows go this is a nice (and cheaper than the West End) alternative to what can feel like an overwhelming and crowded market this Christmas.