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Review: A Christmas Carol at Rose Theatre

Yasmin Elkilany

By Yasmin Elkilany First Published 9 December 2022, Last Updated 21 April 2023

From Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, writer of the Olivier Award-winning Emilia, comes a brand-new retelling of Charles Dickens’ timeless classic. It’s a cold Christmas Eve on the snowy streets of Victorian London, and preparations for another meagre Christmas are well underway – but not for Ebenezer Scrooge. The cruellest, wealthiest woman in town; Scrooge hates charity, she hates carol singers, and most of all… she hates Christmas.

I had an incredibly joyous time at the Rose Theatre’s new production of A Christmas Carol; a thoroughly entertaining, wholesome and jubilant adaptation that’s perfect for the entire family. It is always a pleasure to visit the Rose Theatre – its riverside and high street location means you can make a trip out of your theatre visit. The Rose Theatre also has a Café that offers a spacious, relaxing environment to meet up with friends!

The show opens with a wonderful song and dance performed by the talented Rose Youth Theatre (alongside a professional cast), which introduces the audience to the duality between the palpable struggles of poor Victorian children, and the merriment of an idyllic Christmas. Such subject matter is certainly rife in the current day. The songs by Eamonn O’Dwyer are a feast for the ears, and are certainly a highlight of this production; you might find yourself singing the catchy tunes all the way home!

The performers from the Rose Youth Theatre bring exuberant energy to the stage. This production cleverly explores generational as well as class divides, with a standout line from Scrooge mentioning how people of her age have ‘rather messed everything up’, which was met with large applause! Thus, the production inspires hope for the future of the youth.

Penny Layden also gives a brilliant performance as Scrooge – she masterfully portrays the cruelty and coldness of the character whilst deftly displaying the vulnerable self beneath. This production masterfully balances a light-hearted, high-spirited tone (guided by the magic of the character of Dickens) with Scrooge’s memento mori. Scrooge’s realisation of her cruel character is fuelled by her acknowledgement that she is running out of time. The set is also cleverly designed with a circular area outlined in chalk at the centre of the stage representing a clock, used to distinguish between past and present. 

Make sure to enjoy the festive magic with a dose of time travel by booking tickets for the beloved return of Rose Christmas show, playing until 2 January! Step into this heart-warming tale of generosity and forgiveness, and experience the spirit of Christmas for yourself.


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