Theatre Review: A Christmas Carol at the Old Vic

What could be more Christmassy than A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, written 175 years ago.   The Old Vic will be reviving its version of A Christmas Carol in 2022 starring Owen Teale as Scrooge

I’ve lost count of the number of times that I have seen productions of Charles Dickens classic tale of Scrooge, even the teens have seen several.  The Old Vic’s version is by far the best we have seen. Read on for our Christmas Carol Theatre Review.

Review A Christmas Carol

Things started well, as we walked into the auditorium a Victorian pie seller offered us a free mince pie and very tasty it was too.  Mince Pie in had we made our way to our seats and glanced down at the stage.  It was a space transformed, no longer a standard stage with a proscenium arch but rather a theatre in the round.  With lots of lights twinkling above the stage.  In the middle were more Victorians this time playing seasonal tunes.

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen faded into the background and in came Scrooge in all his Christmas Bah Humbug glory.  The story was told in a mix of a chorus of actors reading the text of the book and actors acting out the scenes which worked really well.  One of the reasons that we chose A Christmas Carol again this year is because it is one of the teens GCSE set texts, we had frequent whispered asides when things were not as they were in the original.  First of all the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Future are all women, which I am sure that Dickens would have done had he been a twenty first century man.

The curmudgeonly nature of Scrooge perfectly at the start of the play and we see him beginning to wander if maybe being a grouch isn’t the best way to be.  When he wakes after his night of bad dreams he becomes positively skittish.  Every inch of the auditorium is deployed for the big feast scene as snow falls over the audience.

How did The Old Vic’s Christmas Carol compare to the many others that we have seen?  By far the best and we have seen some pretty good productions, which is why we go again and again.  If you have older children or even no children make sure that is the Christmas show that you see this year.

If you haven’t booked tickets for a Christmas show yet there is plenty of inspiration in my round up of the best of London Christmas Shows.  

To get into the spirit of a Dickensian Christmas you can visit Charles Dickens’ house which is always dressed for a Victorian Christmas.




  1. December 1, 2017 / 10:08 am

    It sounds brilliant and I love Rhys Ifans so I’d love to see this. Shame I won’t be in London this Christmas.

    • December 1, 2017 / 8:50 pm

      But you have witnessed transhumance!

  2. pigeonpairandme
    December 1, 2017 / 12:22 pm

    Now this is something I’d love to see. The ghosts as women – hurrah! My children are too young according to the age guidelines, but you’re right, I should be trying to winkle out a ticket just for me….#CulturedKids

    • December 1, 2017 / 8:51 pm

      Think of the free mince pie!

  3. December 1, 2017 / 1:59 pm

    Oh this sounds amazing. I love going to theatre at Christmas time with the kids. We’re doing the tradional panto this year #CulturedKids

  4. December 1, 2017 / 2:45 pm

    This sounds lovely, Rhys Ifans is brilliant, I’d love to see something with him in it. The old Vic looks great too. Thanks for hosting #culturedkids

    • December 1, 2017 / 8:53 pm

      He was very good especially as the scampering changed Scrooge

  5. Clare Thomson
    December 1, 2017 / 4:18 pm

    So glad to read the review, Catherine. I’ve been wondering what this production was like. I do love A Christmas Carol and one of my boys has read it too. #CulturedKids

    • December 1, 2017 / 8:54 pm

      Very inventive in its staging

  6. December 1, 2017 / 4:54 pm

    I would love to see A Christmas Carol. We have the Nutcracker and the Rockettes, but no Christmas Carol. I can see why you go back again and again. #culturedkids

    • December 1, 2017 / 8:55 pm

      I quite fancy festive Rockettes

  7. December 1, 2017 / 8:28 pm

    Performances at the Old Vic seem to often have an edge. This sounds spot on for the festive season. #culturedkids

    • December 1, 2017 / 8:55 pm

      Old Vic also very handy for Waterloo!

  8. December 3, 2017 / 2:29 am

    Such a classic story for Christmas, Rhys Ifans AND a free mince pie – that’s really in the festive spirit #culturedkids

    • December 3, 2017 / 9:51 am

      I know, think I might have peaked too early!

  9. December 3, 2017 / 5:42 pm

    this sounds brilliant. a great way to start the festive season

    • December 3, 2017 / 8:57 pm

      Only trouble is that now I have a taste for mince pies!

  10. December 4, 2017 / 12:21 pm

    I can imagine Rhys Ifans making a good Scrooge! I haven’t been to the theatre for anything more highbrow than a Julia Donaldson production for the last few years. Looking forward to more grown up performances such as this in the years to come! #culturedkids

    • December 4, 2017 / 2:21 pm

      They grow up fast and then you’ll miss the Gruffalo!

  11. December 5, 2017 / 6:38 pm

    Aww I love A Christmas Carol – it always gets me into such a festive mood, so definitely want to check out this show! #citytripping

  12. December 6, 2017 / 4:44 am

    Oh! This sounds wonderful! Snow falling over the audience! We’re excited to be seeing A Christmas Carol at Windsor Castle, and thanks to you we’ll be going to see Dickens’ House as well. We recently saw the man who invented Christmas, and loved it. #citytripping

    • December 6, 2017 / 10:06 am

      You re having a full on Dickens Christmas, I am very jealous of the Windsor Christmas Carol!

      • December 6, 2017 / 3:29 pm

        We sure are, and we’re pretty excited!! By the way…I just love your blog!

        • December 6, 2017 / 4:38 pm

          Thank you *blushes modestly*

  13. December 6, 2017 / 12:30 pm

    I have never seen A Christmas Carol on stage. I’ve seen many film adaptations but I’d like to see it on stage some day. It’s such a classic. #CulturedKids

    • December 6, 2017 / 11:54 pm

      It lends itself to the stage very well

  14. December 9, 2017 / 8:30 am

    Sounds fab! I love a bit of Christmas theatre! I bet Rhys Ifans was brill. Always good to see the texts that are being studied too. Thanks for linking #citytripping

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