Tuesday, 12 January 2016

02 February, 2016 Chichester Festival Youth Theatre ‘A Christmas Carol’ ****


This production, first seen in 2008, is well worth a revival. The combination of Bryony Lavery’s clever and witty adaptation and the music and lyrics of Jason Carr is a felicitous one and the result is a substantial and quality piece of work. As usual, CFT does not stint on production values when it comes to the youth theatre – a souped-up school play this ain’t. This troupe of highly talented and committed young performers thoroughly deserves the professional support it gets: a well thought out and flexible set by Simon Higlett, a top notch band directed by Colin Billing, great costumes by Ryan Dawson Laight and stunning lighting design by James Whiteside.

It’s great to see what puppet designer Toby Olié can do beyond the realm of animals. His creations for the ghosts of Christmas Past and Christmas Future are truly original and not a little scary, not least the latter which is monstrous in size and appearance. And one should not forget that his creative input also includes training the operators, very successfully.


The production makes good use of the big company. It employs a large cast of speaking parts, and there is plenty of scope for supporting cast to strut their stuff.

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