The Chickenshed Christmas shows never fail to bring magic and hope to an audience and A Christmas Carol was no different. It had every ingredient quintessentially Christmas, bright lights, the biggest Christmas turkey ever seen and even snow!
Its musical numbers and the great accompanying choreography is what really stood out in this performance. With its slower songs, this show wasn’t afraid to pull on the heart strings of its audience. The musical began slowly to start with, the opening number was very hard to understand and too busy with the dialogue and movement which led on to a static character setting. However it soon picked up and a personal highlight had to be ‘How’s Business’, with brilliant smooth choreography, the song and the movement flowed perfectly in tandem and set expectations high for the rest of the production. The three ghosts (Nathaniel Rivet-Leigertwood, Cara Mcinanny and Bethany Hamlin) present on stage throughout the show were brilliant, captivating, with amazing singing voices and dancing. Their personalities shone through their characters, for such a secondary role they managed to stay in my mind long after the curtain call.
There was so much strength with various characters in the show, the Ghost of Christmas Past was stunning, and her voice, blended with Belles in ‘Belle’s Ballad’, was beautifully tragic. Something has to be said for the fluidity in the Ghost of Christmas Present’s performance. His entrance for starters literally made me jump in my seat! His dance moves were amazing, his sound was tasteful and smooth throughout. Chickenshed did great in finding innovative ways to differentiate Past, Present and Future ghosts. The whole of the Cratchit family were adorable, their loving personalities shone every time they were on stage.
The production for this show was beyond bold, brilliant bright lights surrounding the proscenium arch during the party scene really gave off Great Gatsby vibes. The stage team have to be applauded for the brilliant set changes, they were smooth and unnoticeable. The use of fog gave it an eerie atmosphere especially when the absolutely terrifying Ghost of Christmas Future came though.
Snow! Who can forget, it was magical and exactly what Chickenshed is all about, when it fell down slowly into the audience, no matter how old we were all trying to catch some of the foam. With such a warming ending it is exactly what you come to expect with A Christmas Carol anyways, but this one was extra special.
This show could have definitely been polished in parts. A few of the songs were so amazing, they set such a high standard that the rest were being lost in the fanfare and were not as effective, in lyric and in music. The acting could be stronger in parts and more natural as in various points throughout, the actors were anticipating the next line, losing the spontaneity of the show.
Other than that, a magical show. For such a small intimate auditorium theatre the production made it feel magnificent and massive. They did amazing again with their inclusivity, which Chickenshed is such an advocate for. With the show being signed throughout and actors from all walks of life, it made me feel proud and represented. These people weren’t up there to play an ethnic minority or a disabled person, they were there to play a character in A Christmas Carol and have as much fun as everyone else. I would definitely recommend this musical for some Christmas Spirit!