A Christmas Carol
14th December 2017
Sodbury Vale Musical Comedy Club
Chipping Sodbury Town Hall
Type of Production
Catherine Howlett, Alison Cobb, Amy Neal
Author: Dee Way
The music was very well played, although at times the children’s voices were lost. All the songs were clearly sung and well delivered, and fitted into the script and story well, nicely enhancing the characters singing them. The sound effects were good, with good volume levels and well timed. The lighting was very effective, particularly in the ghost and street scenes.
The scene changes were very well designed and handled, with a street scene created onstage with minimal furniture, other than a beautiful handcart, and the Cratchit’s home created with a diner table, props and chairs. Perhaps more hungry–looking children would have been good here, with ‘meat’ that looked more like a goose in Act 1 and more like a turkey in Act 2, but the scene was well acted and the warmth of the family circle was very well generated.
The choreography of the dances was varied and interesting. The movements in dance routines were very well done, with good movement, finishes and timings, while the solo dance was expressive and thoughtful.
It must be quite difficult to adapt such a well-known story into a new show, but this was very well done and proved to be an effective approach to the production. The composition of the production and its direction were excellent, with very good planning in the movement of the large cast, and some interesting interpretations of sections of the story. Having a narrator tell much of the story allowed a lot of freedom in the scripting, the performance of songs and setting up the various scenes. Much of the scripted sections contained great feeling and character, while the wide mix of ages of the cast added greatly to the believability of the group as townsfolk and neighbours.
The production included some really good costumes, with authentic-looking early Victorian dresses, hats, shawls and capes. The children looked good in their pinafores and mobcaps, or bakers’ hats, waistcoats and breeches for the boys. The costumes for Marley’s ghost and his phantoms were very effective, with their chains and white drapes. The Christmases Past, Present and Future were equally inventive, with the ethereal sprite looking lovely in her white dress and Christmas Future dressed as Death.
Overall, this cast did themselves proud in this production. Characterisation was good throughout and the maintenance of the characters was very well done. The street scenes were very well done, with the wooden cart and the market auction, with the children acting well and the high energy level maintained throughout.