"A Christmas Carol: The Musical" (2004)
For some, now seemingly unfathomable reason, I had high hopes for this production, (or should I say Great Expectations? Ho hum!) but I was proved very wrong indeed.
Kelsey Grammer is doing Ebenezer this time around and his performance is nothing short of atrocious. For some reason, I had assumed he would be able to handle the accent, yet it is all over the place, wandering all across the nation and occasionally skipping all the way over to Australia.
He is completely one note throughout the course of this story. We never feel any sympathy for him and even his redemption is blackened by a streak of miserableness in his performance.
The songs, which seem to go on forever are, with only one exception, completely forgettable and utterly useless. Rather than further the plot, it is as if all storytelling stops for five minutes while everyone sings something that is only tangentially related to what is happening, before resuming the story as if nothing occurred.
The other curious thing is how un-dickensian it all looks. Every room is huge and vibrantly lit in pastel shades. Even the Cratchits appear to be living in a mansion.
It had never occurred to me before just how much narrow streets, cramped offices and gloomy bedrooms had become so much part of the Dickens aesthetic, that it is jarring to be without them.
This is the only version of the story I have seen (so far) where I was actually rooting for Scrooge not to be saved, but to die along with Tiny Tim. It is that bad. So bad in fact, I have had to allow myself to go one lower with my scoring, to best express my revulsion.
It would almost be acceptable to enjoy this production as a "so-bad-it's-good" experience. However, life is short, and there are too many great adaptations of this story to enjoy before you waste your time with this one.
As fetid as the bloated corpse of Ebenezer Scrooge.
"A Christmas Carol: The Musical" (2004) 0/5