Leslie Bricusse’s festive family favourite, Scrooge The Musical, officially opened at Curve Leicester last week. It’s a story we all know and love: a cynical appraisal of society through the portrayal of a cantankerous old man as he reaches his autumn years.
After years spent putting the fear of God into the residents of his town, miserable old Scrooge is visited by three ghosts who show him his past, present and what may become of him should he not change his ways.
As we all know, the story of Ebenezer Scrooge was originally born in A Christmas Carol, a novella by Charles Dickens in 1843. Since the first portrayal, Scrooge has found its home in a variety of mediums both on the stage and on the silver screen.
Jasper Britton (Scrooge) treads the boards at Curve once again, fresh from his recent performance in What The Butler Saw. Having seen both, it was great to see him in a totally different role. From his impressive resume it would appear that he is usually more likely to be seen in a Shakespeare production than warming up his vocal chords ready for a musical, and he definitely feels right at home as our leading man.
Britton lead a truly tremendous cast, of which there is no weak link. This production is also extra magical as it invites Curve Young Company to the stage, who really are every bit as talented as you would expect. It wouldn’t be a Christmas production without children, and so it was lovely to see so many involved.
As usual, choreography by Stephen Mear was fun, imaginative and just downright perfect. It was also great to see his work being performed back in his hometown (And a special treat for this reviewer was bumping into her old dance teacher at the interval just to discover she also taught Stephen!).
The set design by Michael Taylor is to be commended, and it really was a stunning way to show off what Curve can do. Bursting at the seams, the set really made use of the absolutely enormous stage and it was quite easy to get distracted from the action on stage just to take in the beauty, precision and detail in every inch of the set. With hidden clocks, Christmas quotes, fairy lights and clothes lines reminiscent of an Oliver! set, the set is a piece of art in its own right.
The show is jam packed full of hit songs such as Thank You Very Much, Love While You Can and December The Twenty-Fifth. The hairs on the back of my neck were standing on end at times as the harmonies and whole orchestration of the pieces are just so beautiful. Musical director Neil Macdonald and musical supervisor and orchestrator Sarah Travis should be very proud of their work.
Last but certainly not least, Nikolai Foster’s direction is once again outstanding. It doesn’t take a theatre buff to watch this performance and see how huge it is on every level, and Nikolai not only pulled it off but also created a masterpiece that is sure to have every member of the audience talking about it for days to come.
There’s magic, there’s a genuinely frightening flying ghost, there are songs absolutely guaranteed to be stuck in your head the next day (Quite ironic that the song stuck in my head is ‘Thank you very much’…). What more could you want for a Christmas production?
Yet another unforgettable Made At Curve production, this magnificent, toe-tapping, festive delight is sure to leave you nose-diving straight into the Christmas spirit.
Reviewed by Rosie Bambury
Photo: Pamela Raith Photography