ALBUM REVIEW: A Christmas Carol (narrated by Simon Callow) ★★★★

In Albums, London theatre, Opinion, Plays, Reviews by Jonathan BazLeave a Comment

Released on 1 December 2017 from Island Records, Simon Callow’s narration of Charles Dickens’ seasonal classic A Christmas Carol marks the 175th anniversary of Dickens’ self-publishing of the original tale. Two years ago, Callow adapted the novel into an acclaimed one-man staged performance and it is that version now being released.

Much like a luxuriously fruited and brandy drenched Christmas pudding, Callow’s voice (surely a national treasure in itself) serves up the festive fable in a recording that lasts a touch longer than the hour. Callow savours Dickens’ descriptions, his telling of the story offering up vivid portrayals of Ebenezer Scrooge, the three foreboding Spirits that visit him through the early hours of Christmas morning and all the other Cheapside characters.

Adding a subtly seasonal musical backdrop and occasional musical interludes between the chapters, The Brighouse And Rastrick Band offer a selection of carols from their award-winning brass ensemble. In addition to Callow on CD1, a second disc provides a further 20 or so carol melodies recorded by the band, offering the opportunity to either sit back and listen, or maybe join in for a singalong.

It all makes for a marvelous recording and in our modern world, where video-based entertainment spews forth from screens that are everywhere, how wonderful to simply play this recording and let Simon Callow’s magical voice take one’s imagination back to 19th-century London.

Available to buy and download from all the usual retailers and digital platforms.

Jonathan Baz
Theatre critic Jonathan Baz is London-based but with a coverage that extends well beyond the capital. He enjoys reviewing new writing as much as seeing fresh interpretations of well-known plays and musicals. Jonathan’s broad interest in theatre has taken him to Alabama to write about the history behind The Scottsboro Boys, as well as driving the stream train in the stage production of The Railway Children! His recent interviews have included John Kander, Stephen Mear and Cynthia Erivo. Away from the theatre, Jonathan is a practising Chartered Accountant with numerous clients in the entertainment industries. Jonathan blogs at www.jonathanbaz.com.
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Jonathan Baz
Theatre critic Jonathan Baz is London-based but with a coverage that extends well beyond the capital. He enjoys reviewing new writing as much as seeing fresh interpretations of well-known plays and musicals. Jonathan’s broad interest in theatre has taken him to Alabama to write about the history behind The Scottsboro Boys, as well as driving the stream train in the stage production of The Railway Children! His recent interviews have included John Kander, Stephen Mear and Cynthia Erivo. Away from the theatre, Jonathan is a practising Chartered Accountant with numerous clients in the entertainment industries. Jonathan blogs at www.jonathanbaz.com.