It just wouldn’t be Christmas without this classic Dickens story and the Royal Lyceum is delivering it this year with a welcome twist. Rather fittingly, this play is set against the wintry backdrop of Victorian Edinburgh – even Greyfriars Bobby is part of the tale. It was said that inspired by a walk through Canongate Kirk, where he came across the tomb of a business man named Ebenezer Scroggie.
We follow the familiar tale of cantankerous old Scrooge and his sweet employee, ‘Rab Cratchit’, on the eve of Christmas, when Scrooge learns a thing or two about his past, present and future. The addition of Greyfriars Bobby (the most convincing puppet you have ever seen) being chased by an exceptionally witty Policeman make for some truly hilarious moments which children and adults will enjoy. There are equally emotional moments too, thanks to the masterful puppetry, which must be commended. That said, although Tiny Tim was a stunning piece of puppetry and wonderfully voiced, the necessary empathy evoked by this poor, sickly young boy was lacking slightly, being the only ‘human’ puppet.
The set design is a feast for the eye throughout; wonderfully atmospheric, with towering, ramshackle closes nestled underneath the glow of Edinburgh Castle; and some nifty tricks allow the scenes to move seamlessly between interior and exterior locations. The actors were superb, with particular mention to Ewan Donald, Crawford Logan and Grant O’Rourke.
Angelic harmonies from the choir delighted throughout the production; their cheerful carolling under the snow-topped Castle bringing warmth to even the coldest of hearts. Watch out for the magical flurry!
A fresh delivery of a classic tale this Christmas, reminding us that kindness and generosity are the greatest gifts we can give to others.
Photo courtesy of Mihaela Bodlovic
An Edinburgh Christmas Carol runs at Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum Theatre until 4th January 2020. More information available here.