Sunday, 16 December 2012

Scrooge at the London Palladium

London Palladium

With the Dickens bicentenary celebrations drawing to a close, I was pleased to be able to fit in one more event. So it was off to the London Palladium to see the legendary Tommy Steele.

Tommy has headlined at the Palladium more times than anybody else. At the age of 75 (76 tomorrow!), he shows signs of stopping either. He last played Scrooge in 2005 (also at the Palladium).


It has to be said right from the start that Tommy Steele makes a magnificent Scrooge (in a good way, of course). He has the necessary stage presence on which to pin the entire show (Scrooge is visible for virtually every minute of the two hours) and his voice is easily strong enough to handle the musical element.

I'm sure all readers will be very familiar with the story of A Christmas Carol and of the visiting spirits and their lessons, which turn Scrooge from a grumpy misanthrope into a benevolent gentleman. This musical version was penned by Leslie Bricusse and first saw action at the cinemas back in 1970, with Albert Finney as Scrooge.

The special effects are particularly well done. For example, Jacob Marley (played by the excellent Barry Howard, last mentioned by Marsh Towers here) made an appearance so dramatic it drew gasps from the audience. We also saw the Ghost of Christmas Past materialise in a revolving armchair and then, when she returns to the spirit world, disappear into a mirror.
I recommend this wonderfully entertaining version of one of the greatest stories ever told to everyone with an interest in Dickens (in particular), the theatre (in general) and, of course, the spirit of Christmas (or, indeed, spirits)...

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