A Christmas Carol – this year's school production
Review by Fifth Form Pupil, Hattie Lindsey-Coombs
A step back in time from last year’s Grease, audiences found themselves in Victorian London, where, for four nights, Jenna Kirby played the famous Ebenezer Scrooge, leading us confidently and expertly through the classic Agg-Manning directed production.
Jenna’s leading role was accompanied by a cast of diverse characters. The ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, played by Rosie Thornhill, Ellie Baker and Sophia Arnold respectively, creatively capturing the collective essence of the infamous ghosts in their unique way. Rosie through her mysterious and gloomy manner, Ellie by her general extravagance and stage presence and finally Sophia who closed the series of apparitions in her brilliantly unsettling dance-filled performance. And not forgetting Emma Hawkins' chained and tormented Jacob Marley. The excellent portrayals of Charles Dickens and John Forster, played by George Symonds and Tom Smith, contributed to large parts of the narrative and represented the writing of the original novel, also shining a light on the social injustices of the Victorian era.
Throughout the performance, a chorus of carollers lit up the stage with renditions of our best-known carols bringing moments of happiness. Alive with this same joy and humour were the scenes led by Oliver Baines and Cora Frith-Fletcher. The ‘Fezziwigs’ brought not just light relief, but impeccable acting as the whole audience laughed along with their hilarious Christmas party scene including the particularly memorable song and dance.
However, this brilliant performance would not have been possible if it wasn’t for all the work that went on backstage. Louis Bennyworth led the music, bringing an original score at a professional standard; composed, recorded and slotted in at all the right places, carrying us through the play. The ambience created by the set and lighting, designed by Mr Hoad, was wholly appropriate, only furthering our belief in the characters and lives we were seeing. Managing to be both extensive, and subtly effective, the set, consisting of numerous balconies and surprising entrance ways, had the audience fully submerged in all the goings on of the Victorian streets. Of course, a mention is due to all the stagehands who helped bring the production together, including Molly Eyres, stage manager, who lent a very much appreciated hand in the organisation and final production.
Congratulations to all involved for helping to make A Christmas Carol so memorable. Having previously only known the classic novel as a ghost story, the inequalities and meaning behind the characters brought up during these brief intermissions of Dickens’ narration was striking and thought-provoking. The author eventually used this as a basis for his ideology of optimism and change that took the play in a surprising turn. Taking the quintessentially dismal Victorian environment experienced by the poor and creating a message of hope and joy filtered into the play, culminating in the well-known ending: the miserly Scrooge entering whole-heartedly into the Christmas spirit, a message we can always look upon, no matter what time of the year.
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