Theatre review: An Edinburgh Christmas Carol – Lyceum, Edinburgh
There’s something magical about going along to see a Christmas show, wrapping up in warm winter clothes, having a steaming mug of hot chocolate and sitting back to fall into one of the beloved stories you know like the fabric of your own memories. There’s something magically Scottish about the Lyceum’s new production of An Edinburgh’s Christmas Carol, a classic, revisited to wonderful result.
This interpretation reinvents the Dickensian tale on the Victorian streets of Edinburgh, with a well-known Edinburgh celebrity, Greyfriars Bobby (played by puppet). In this telling, it is Tiny Tim (also a puppet) who stands up for the loyal Bobby, and tries to protect him from the wicked Dog Catcher. Scrooge, played by the talented Crawford Logan, doesn’t care about Bobby’s fate or the poor of Edinburgh’s streets, until he is visited by three ghosts of Christmas who make him see the error of his ways. It’s not often that the re-imagining of such a classic tale can be done with success, but this production will not leave you disappointed.
The play set in Edinburgh’s old town with the looming castle backdrop works wonderfully, and the staging of the piece was orchestrated wonderfully. One fact that I was unaware of, and one that director Tony Cownie has woven into the dialogue was that Christmas was actually banned in Scotland for quite some time, and vehemently frowned upon after that. It was not until 1958 that it became a public holiday. It only makes even more sense, that a character such as Scrooge would have existed in our Scottish city.
What is so wonderfully balanced are the complex experiences that lead us to the people we become today, whilst not escaping the humour and absurdity of life. Logan’s portrayal of Scrooge is at times brilliantly intimate, funny and touching and he never tips the balance too far into caricature. The whole play itself is hilarious, and I teared up with laughter at several points. The whole ensemble of the piece should be commended, there are no weak moments in the show at all and each character only seems to raise the laughs and the magic of the whole performance.
I went along to see the show with a friend and two excited children, aged seven and nine and as we left, the seven year old solemnly stated ‘I loved it.’ Their giggles and rapt attention through the whole play gave testimony to the fact that they did indeed. Quite honestly, I think I did too.
Presented by The Royal Lyceum Theatre Company
Adapted and Directed by Tony Cownie
From the novel by Charles Dickens
Till 4th January 2020
Photo credit: Mihaela Bodlovic