Sunday, 14 December 2014

'A Christmas Carol' at the Queen Elizabeth Hall

OK, so Christmas festivities started today with giving a Tree a home for Christmas and going to hear a reading of 'A Christmas Carol' at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on the Southbank. I also wore my thick, furry winter hat for the first time so it must be nearly Christmas.

Most years I read 'A Christmas Carol' in the run-up to Christmas and I never get tired of it. Dickens is a master story-teller and this is one of his best, the tale of how Mr Scrooge became the epitome of Christmas spirit. It's not easy but old Ebenezer does it.

We all know the story of Scrooge being visited by the spirits of Christmas past, present and future and how he grows to love Christmas, of Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim. All classic characters that tell a very touching tale of one man's journey into Christmas and humanity. Yes Ebenezer, that's you.

It's a stage reading - the same as I saw last year - with different actors taking on the characters and reading an abridged version of the story by Rosie Kellagher. Griff Rhys Jones was Dickens/the narrator and Bill Paterson played Scrooge (reprising their roles from last year). Ron Cook played Bob Cratchit and Tim McInnerny played a few roles. It was great fun and surprisingly dramatic given they're all dressed in suits and wotnot rather than costumes. The big screen at the back of the stage featured various period illustrations in black and white but I can't help feeling the atmosphere would've been enhanced with a Christmas Tree or two on stage. Or maybe just some candles?

In any case, it was a really good start to the real run-up to Christmas. The foyer had a small brass band playing carols and everyone was cheerful as we trooped into the hall to take our seats. I'd wandered along the Southbank beforehand, browsing in the Christmas market and the excitement of the colourful magic roundabout and found a huge tree outside the Royal Festival Hall for the Macmillan's cancer charity, a wish tree where you can write wishes and memories of people with cancer and some of them were very touching. This is, I think, the first time I've seen a Tree on the Southbank and it's most welcome.

Welcome to Christmas 2014!

No comments: