Arguably the most beloved Christmas tale of all time, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is brought to life on the stage, but not quite as you know it. 

The year is 1940 (or thereabouts) and veteran Scrooge actor Stanley De Pfeffel (Michael Lumsden) is out of action for the annual Christmas radio extravaganza that is Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol. Having been left incapacitated following an on-stage accident at the Wyndham Theatre, his long time co-actor and rival, Ernest Andrew (Samuel Collings), is all set to play Scrooge.

Alongside Vanity Fair (Alix Dunmore) is Gretchen Haggard (Dorothea Myer-Bennett) and Beau Belles (William Findley). Together, they make up the company of five, suited and booted in dinner jackets, glamorous gowns and plaid pyjamas. Directed by Owen Lewis, this unconventional telling of A Chrismas Carol invites audiences to watch a ‘live broadcast’.

Fitzrovia Hour's A Christmas Carol Leicester Square

Dorothea Myer-Bennett, William Findley, Samuel Collings & Alix Dunmore (image courtesy of Geraint Lewis)

As a play, this telling of A Christmas Carol is unique in that the array of sound effects performed by the cast as they concurrently act out their parts is staggering. Doors slam, floorboards creek, ghosts come & go and every act of Dickens’ festive masterpiece is brought to life with whimsical theatricality.

Written by co-founder of Fitzrovia Radio Hour, Jon Edgley Bond, the script is peppered with comic moments. From ill-conceived Welsh accents, to tongue in cheek sexual jokes and toilet humour that have children roaring with laughter, the play successfully blends the attitudes of wartime Britain with contemporary up-styling. It still has the capacity to surprise, however. When the third spectre arrives, children scream, adults wave dry ice out of their noses and those in the back rows jump out of their seats.

Fitzrovia Hour's A Christmas Carol Leicester Square

Samuel Collings (image courtesy of Geraint Lewis)

At 75 minutes, A Christmas Carol is just slightly too long, and would fit comfortably inside an hour. However, it’s the last ten minutes that really capture the spirit of ration book Britain, with its slapstick humour, carnage and flirtatious frivolity.

A mad and merry festive romp, The Fitzrovia Radio Hour bring a family friendly stage re-telling of the world’s most beloved Christmas novel, on the radio, in the 1940s, to Leicester Square for Christmas.

 

★★★☆☆

To read more about A Christmas Carol, which plays at Paradiso Spiegeltent, Leicester Square until 30 December 2017, follow the company on Twitter (@FitzroviaRadio) or visit their website – www.fitzroviaradio.co.uk