The spirit of Christmas

A Christmas Carol – The Old Red Lion, until 03 January 2015 (tickets)

‘Humbug’. The modern lexicon creatively being employed by the youth of today means it’s a word that sits on the milder end of the spectrum. Yet, tellingly, for many it retains a special power; it’s A Christmas Carol, Old Red Lion, courtesy of Anna Söderblom,11indelibly linked with one man and one situation. To tell someone they are a humbug is to accuse them of hating Christmas – a damning indictment indeed.

Dickens’ story is so powerful that it has forced a character into their own existence. Scrooge. A creation so potent that his very name became synonymous with being a miser. It is a very simple story – of one man’s redemption over the course of one fantastical night – that has held a grip over the imagination since it was written. Each generation has their own favourite; whether it was read to them at Christmas, seeing Alistair Sims in black and white hunched around the TV or going to the cinema to watch the Muppets.

Metal Rabbit are one of three companies performing A Christmas Carol in London this winter. If you are after lashings of period detail then Antic Disposition’s version in the fabulous surroundings of Middle Temple Hall may be more to your preference, however Metal Rabbit provides a stripped down updating that consciously nods as much towards modern Britain as it does the slum-like conditions that Dickens captured so well.

Alexander McMorran’s Scrooge is, quite literally, at the centre of this production; he spends much of the play standing centre-stage on a safe (that neatly doubles as a gravestone). It is an arresting opening image that is enhanced by McMorran rhythmically clinking a chain to hint at the miser counting his money but also inescapably leading the subconscious to the ticking of a clock that governs the passage of time over this fantastical night.

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