[AD – PR invite*]
2023 has certainly been a whirlwind year, featuring various exciting theatre plans and reviews. When I was planning my December review schedule, I was thrilled to book A Christmas Carol as my last press visit. Ending with such a classic story felt like a brilliant way to finish my festive show coverage and at the same time close out a busy year, which has seen me review over 50 productions. Mitch Benn’s retelling of A Christmas Carol was playing at Barons Court Theatre for 4 days in the week before Christmas and I couldn’t wait to head into London last night to catch the comedian in action as Dickens.
About this theatrical adaptation
Following in Dickens’ footsteps, Benn brings the abridged text of A Christmas Carol to life in a one-person show. It is no easy feat, with the performer covering the voices and mannerisms of various characters in 70 minutes. With a minimal set, the production relies heavily on the power of imagination, but with an enchanting storyteller at the helm, it is so easy to get transported to Victorian England through spoken word. Supported by some subtle but impactful lighting choices, Benn single handedly takes on the enigmatic story that continues to charm audiences today.
A master storyteller
Benn is a master of voices. I was very impressed by how he transitioned between Scrooge, the phantom ghosts and the Cratchit’s to name but a few. His visual recreation of the Cratchit Christmas day was such fun, especially the sheer joy surrounding the food. I also found the segment with the Fezziwigs to be truly enchanting. Including some dance steps from the era, it really felt like we were in the room with the family when Benn walked us through this scene.
My only criticism for the storytelling would be the fact that the actor barely comes up for breath, packing so much content into just over an hour of theatre. It is no wonder that an interval is needed! However, to his credit, the clarity of Dickens’ words never slips and the speed just adds to the overall feeling of anticipation.
A highlight of the festive season
What a truly fantastic way to end the year, courtesy of Mitch Benn and Barons Court. With a tremendous storyteller and charismatic performer, this intimate production of Dickens’ work is truly exhilarating. It is concrete proof that you don’t always need a fancy set and high production costs to produce a theatrical masterpiece. With an incredibly talented performer in the core role, they will take you on a theatrical journey like no other. Tickets for the last remaining performances of A Christmas Carol are available via the Barons Court Theatre website. With 50 percent of the takings going to St Mungo’s, it is a lovely way to give back and support the arts this festive season.
Thanks for reading my blog today.
Love Kat xxxx
*My ticket for A Christmas Carol was gifted in exchange for a review.