The Other Palace, London – until 24 December 2022
This new adult take on A Christmas Carol has plenty of spirit in every sense of the word, but it feels as though it tries too hard to be enjoyable.
A Christmas Carol is of course a tradition at Christmas time and I defy anyone who doesn’t get to see at least one production at this time of year and there are certainly many different interpretations and adaptations to be experienced in London this year. This one is the most contemporary and adult humoured (as the title itself suggests) that I certainly have experienced yet.
Written by Jon Bradfield and Martin Hooper, Ghosted sees Eloisa Scrooge (who is now a housing agent) getting the transformation of her life as three spirits come and show her the error of her ways. It has a very contemporary feel about it, with plenty of innuendos along the way, revealing how this timeless story can be transformed for contemporary audiences and still has relevancy today. However, it does become slightly predictable humour wise and the addition of the interval feels as though it disrupts the flow and pace of the show as a whole.
There is no doubting that this is a very spirited production (sorry but that had to be done!) and has been directed briskly by Andrew Beckett who really does ensure that the humour is right at the centre of the audience’s attention. This is particularly evident during the pace in which the spirits come and go (it is a miracle that Christopher Lane can keep up with it all so quickly), with the interactions between Eloisa and each ghost being particularly sharp and well scripted (although in places could lose a few of the innuendos).
Despite this, I felt as though by placing so much comedy, the feeling and warmth behind the story is lost, with Scrooge’s redemption feeling too easily gained. It is a shame because by framing it through contemporary eyes, it feels more poignant than ever before – I understand that the writers want give it a comical twist – but without the emotion the story becomes soulless.
This being said, the production features a highly talented cast of four – all of whom really throw themselves into each role (with many of them playing multiple roles). Each performance is sharply refined brilliantly. In particular Lane as the ghosts is clearly having the time of his life by throwing around as many innuendos as possible with such a brilliant sense of comic timing you can’t help but wonder what he is going to say next. Equally as strong is Nikki Biddington as Bobbi, filled with sweetness and charm – but on occasion revealing just a bit of bite to make a real impact. But all of the cast have put thought and care into their performances that makes it a delight to watch to see it all unfolding.
It is a production that effectively highlights the ways in which this story is still relevant (perhaps now more than ever) through its script and certain altered Christmas Carols which are by turns rude and on point topically. There is fun to be had, but in places it feels as though while trying to have fun, it is also trying to make a serious point, making it come across as a bit uneven tone wise. This being said, if you are looking for a fun alternative A Christmas Carol then head to The Other Palace.
By Emma Clarendon
Ghosted continues to play at The Other Palace until the 24th December.
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