We descended into the basement of an unassuming entrance on South Molton Lane. With a glass of mulled wine (a great start), we were welcomed into Scrooge’s Parlour. The room was decorated with wardrobes, shelves full of books, fire place and Scrooge’s bed. We sat on benches around the edge of the room.
There was a particularly atmospheric start as Jacob Marley, played by Jack Whitam, lit from behind enters the dark room through a cloud of smoke. A fittingly spooky entrance as Dickens would have wanted. Marley then sets the scene of the story we all know and love. Scrooge hates Christmas and it is up to us, as his guests, to help change this. Ebenezer Scrooge, played by Alexander Barclay, portrays a true miser who is aghast to see us in his parlour. This is a two-man play so it is Marley who steers Scrooge through his past, present and future. Thankfully a member of the audience is plucked out to represent Tiny Tim. You can’t have A Christmas Carol with a Tiny Tim.
After Scrooge has visited his former self at Mr Fezziwig’s party is it time for our dinner party. For the dining experience Scrooge’s bed sheets are removed and the bed now turns into a dining table. Staff then flock in with more tables, cutlery and plates. We then pulled our benches forward to dine. I thoroughly enjoyed the makeshift feeling of this. It felt like a real Christmas dinner when tables are being pulled in from garages and bench are dragged in to accommodate more people. Everyone was in great spirits pulling crackers, sharing a laugh and carol singing with strangers. It was a wonderful experience. The food was very well done. Turkey for the meat eaters and pie for vegetarians and vegans along with the trimmings. I especially enjoyed the figgy pudding for dessert. Throughout the meal Scrooge and Marley interacted with guests which was a nice touch especially as they would later bring up the information gleaned from guests for comedic effect as part of the show. There was also some live music courtesy of Scrooge and Marley. This all made for a wonderfully jovial atmosphere.
After a parlour game, the show soon resumed where Scrooge met his bleak future prospects. The second half was even better than the first. Whitam used a torch to portray a host of characters. Alexander Barclay and Jack Whitam were faultless throughout. The show is very well written and is a very thoughtful adaption of the Dickens’ classic. I usually find immersive theatre quite awkward and at times, invading of my personal space, however this show is how immersive experience should be.
Throughout the years I have been to many Christmas Carol adaptations and this show is certainly up there with the best of them. I love A Christmas Carol story and to add food, smoke machines and carol singing to the mix was terrific. This show was delightfully fun, comic and well-acted. I was sad it had to end but I left with a Christmas spring in my step.
Tickets from £64.50, including meal. The production is on until 5 January 2020 https://www.designmynight.com/london/whats-on/christmas-themed/a-christmas-carol-an-immersive-dining-experience