Thomas W. Hodgkinson

A Christmas Carol

Adapted by Jack Thorne 
Old Vic, London

Anyone feeling remotely Scrooge-like in the run-up to Christmas will have their heart melted by this roistering, rosy-cheeked revival of Matthew Warchus’s production of the festive parable. It’s not perfect. The playwright Jack Thorne’s interpolations — he explains the miser’s misanthropy by giving him an abusive, debt-ridden father — don’t seem necessary and can’t match the original’s voracious verbal inventiveness. Yet Paterson Joseph commands the stage as an energetic and very sweaty Scrooge, Steven Miller excels as a stammering, palpably worthy Bob Cratchit, and Andrew Langtree, dragging a truckload of self-forged chains, makes a chilling Father/Marley. Adults can reflect on the universality of the story and consider whether for us, as for Scrooge, it’s not too late to change our ways. Children get satsumas, melodious campanology and a Tiny Tim to die for (Lara Mehmet). It adds up to a magical treat.