Star rating – 8/10
Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without a bit of Dickens, and the Library Theatre’s Christmas productions are fast becoming an annual staple for me too. It’s just so refreshing to be able to take children to see high quality productions, which are classic tales and such good festive entertainment too. This year the Library is in its temporary home at the Lowry, where it is likely to remain for a few more Christmas’s yet.
And Rachel O’Riordan has directed a worthy successor in ‘A Christmas Carol’ to last year’s ‘Grimm Tales’, which she also directed. O’Riordan is leaving soon for Australia to take up her new post as Creative Director of Perth Theatre, so this was a great present to leave us with. The production stays satisfyingly faithful to the original Dickens novella, no need to mess around with brilliance, not that that stops some from trying.
Ebenezer Scrooge, makes his familiar journey during one Christmas Eve night with the three spirits, the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and yet to come, that change his miserly attitude forever. The set, designed by Gary McCann, makes clever use of the limited space, and the ghouls are just frightening enough, but not over egged, to hit the right note. The acting is great including David Beames as Scrooge, and Jack Lord, in his second Library Christmas outing, as the put upon clerk Bob Cratchit.
One minor quibble would be that the Cratchit family did not look particularly down at heel, and Tiny Tim’s clothes were a bit too fine, but that did not spoil the enjoyment of this great Christmas treat. Another fine antidote to the commerciality of the season, and the excesses of some productions –A Christmas Carol is another seasonal triumph rather than a turkey for the Library.