Owen Teale takes on the role of Scrooge in the Old Vic production directed by Matthew Warchus.
Time Out: ★★★★ ‘If A Christmas Carol teaches us anything, it’s that hindsight is a wonderful thing, and if you are seeing this awesome adaptation for the first time, you’ll definitely be properly bowled over by it. Its masque-like qualities hark back to a pre-Victorian idea of ritual and celebration, the cast (all excellent) are drilled like squaddies and you get a mince pie. Its warning about austerity and grasping want-mores has a real edge this year, as Scrooge hollers ‘I will NOT feel guilty!’ like a Partygate politician on Question Time. And its star remains undimmed; this is still the most glittering bauble on London’s Christmas stage.”
The Telegraph: ★★★ “Into the camp of being a touch too warm fully to answer the brief falls, alas, Owen Teale, leading the sixth iteration of Jack Thorne’s deft Old Vic adaptation. The Welshman, not far into his sixties, is plainly a fine actor and in terms of projecting power alone won’t leave anyone in the cheap seats feeling short-changed.”
The Arts Desk: ★★★★ “This annual rendering of the Dickens classic feels particularly resonant during the economic crisis.”
Broadway World: ★★★★ “The whole cast glow with enthusiasm and goodwill, as they deftly cover multiple roles, sing and ring bells with aplomb. Roger Dipper is a particularly affecting Bob Crachit; loyal, diligent and incredible likeable. Melissa Alan returns as a wholesome Little Fan and Lydia White is a measured and dignified Belle. Tiny Tim is an adorable Casey-Indigo Blackwood-Lashley (one of four young actors in the role).”
City Am: “There’s a touch of Santa about Teale, from his booming voice to the way he gesticulates about the stage. It’s hard to put a fresh stamp on such an overplayed character as Scrooge, but Teale reaches for new life. Staged in-theround, the stage is like a giant cross, with actors running on from four directions. It creates incredible energy, and with over a hundred Victorian-era lanterns twinkling above head, there’s enough atmosphere to stuff some in your bag and sprinkle around your own home to transform your own Christmas naysayers.”
The Metro: ★★★★ “Yet ironically, the joy of Warchus’ production is the way it knowingly indulges precisely that same idealised image of Christmas that Scrooge in some ways is right to feel suspicious of.”
The Upcoming: ★★★★★ “Special mention needs to be made of the staging of the show: the audience is very much a part of the set and this allows the performers on stage to break the fourth wall without it erring towards the feel of a pantomime. Audience participation is a must throughout the second half, and, as a result, we are led to feel the same glee that Scrooge eventually does when he understands the true meaning of Christmas. Bursts of jubilation erupt spontaneously as everyone is invited to “partake” in the feast at the end of the show, and it becomes a truly enchanting evening.”
The Reviews Hub: ★★★★ 1/2 “As one of the first of the Christmas Carol shows to go live, it has truly set a high bar. Pushing it that little bit higher is the production’s commitment to raising money for a food distribution charity, making the valid and extremely welcome point that the world on stage of debt and child poverty is sadly not one we’ve left behind by any measure. A strong story, excellent performances and a stunning audio and visual experience – combined with a commitment to doing actual relevant good: What more could you want at this time of year?”
London Theatre.co.uk: ★★★★ “At its limitlessly moving core, this story is one of a necessary emotional awakening that has resonances for us all, not least in an era newly gripped by near-Dickensian levels of want and need as Teale’s finely calibrated appeal to the audience following the curtain call makes clear.”
A Christmas Carol continues to play at the Old Vic Theatre until 7 January 2023.