Review: A Christmas Carol at Bolton Octogon is “brilliantly done and as relevant as ever”

The Dickens Classic has come to the stage in Bolton and is more relevant now than ever
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A Christmas Carol is a story that has seen many adaptions throughout the years, including movies, TV series and of course theatre productions.

This brand-new musical adaption by Kate Ferguson and Susannah Pearse, decides to bring the Charles Dickens classic to its original routes of 19th century, Victorian London.

Amid a cost of living crisis on the run up to Christmas, Dickens classic tale serves as the perfect story to deliver the message of kindness and generosity this winter.

And you may well be familiar with the story and its characters, but everything in this production is done with a slight twist.

The show begins with the mean-spirited Ebenezer Scrooge on his way to work as he rejects the spirit of Christmas, dismissing Carol singers with “Humbug”.

It quickly becomes apparent Scrooge is unpleasant to everyone around him, including his employee Bob Cratchit (Jonathan Charles) and his nephew Fred Tapper (Robert Wade).

Laurie Jamieson steps forward in the main role as Scrooge and does great job in adding his own flair to the character.

Showcasing an amusing side to the protagonist, whilst managing to convey the grumpy old man and vulnerability of Scrooge as his story unfolds.

Despite Scrooge’s extraordinary wealth, he refuses to help those in need around him and is consequently met one Christmas Eve by a ghost, his former business partner Jacob Marley.

Marley appears to Scrooge drowned in chains, warning Scrooge he will be visited by three more ghosts and that if he does not change his ways, his fate will be the same as his.

The talented ensemble of actor-musicians plays live instruments during their performances which works really well in the production.

All the songs in the show are enjoyable too and will have you moving more than you will probably expect, especially during the performance of ‘Fezziwig’.

Georgia Murphy allows the show to run at a good pace throughout its entirety, directing in this production skilfully.

The comedy within the script works very well and some of the comical exchanges amidst the singing were done brilliantly.

Though there are moments where the script feels like it needs slightly more of a punch, however this doesn’t distract from how well the writing was done overall.

The set design by Katie Scott is also good and it does a great job in transporting you back in time upon entering the theatre.

Truthfully, it is amazing that a story originally written now over 150 years ago, still manages to connect with modern audiences. Which is a testament to Dickens as a writer.

And when A Christmas Carol is done well like in this production, it is a must see.

Featuring a talented cast and a heart-warming Christmas story. I would recommend booking this as a Christmas treat for the whole family.

Tickets are being sold at the Octagon Theatre in Bolton all the way up to the 14 th of January from just £15.

You can get tickets by clicking here. 

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