A Christmas Carol at Liverpool Playhouse: REVIEW
The Playhouse. LIVERPOOL. Michaelmas term lately over. Implacable December weather.
It doesn’t really begin to feel like Christmas without a bit of Dickens’ running in your veins. Not literally, of course, but with comical theatre company Spymonkey in town, I wouldn’t be surprised.
Their Christmas gift to Liverpool this year was a chaotic comedic adaptation of A Christmas Carol, and the unconventional approach to the Christmas classic was a hilarious success. With a consistent focus on the comical elements of performance, Spymonkey’s adaptation relied heavily on the audience’s guaranteed prior knowledge of the tale in order for their jokes to have the greatest impact. The brilliantly-written script ensured that the audience were aware of the comical direction of the play from the very beginning, where mishaps, both planned and spontaneous, were explicitly commented upon, making the show clear to follow with a confident cast.
Spymonkey’s adaptation was a complete concoction of eras and comedy styles, making the show one long-running bizarre joke that you can’t predict the punch-line to. The innovative production was one that made the audience grin from ear to ear throughout, and witty commentaries on both Victorian and modern societies evoked ripples of chuckles throughout the audience.
Featuring Radiohead hits, a dance with Belle and Henry (the Hoover) (as Torville and Dean) (on roller-skates), and intelligent remarks concerning Brexit and modern politics, Spymonkey’s adaptation of A Christmas Carol cleverly combined the two periods, making the story relevant today.
Often, where the focus was placed on the comical abilities of the Spymonkey cast, numerous serious morals of Dickens’ original tale were brought into the light, contrasting greatly to the light-hearted tone, but weighing the importance of the tones thoroughly. Poignant lessons were made prominent in stark contrast to the comedy, meaning that the audience is more aware of what is important to take away from Dickens’ story.
Hailing from Brighton are Spymonkey cast Aitor Basaun, Petra Massey, Toby Park, and Sophie Russell playing numerable characters in the stage adaptation of A Christmas Carol. The disparity between the four actors and the innumerable characters that Dickens inevitably writes into his stories was especially highlighted by the frenzy of the six Cratchit family members assembling for dinner-time.
Every aspect of Spymonkey’s A Christmas Carol is guaranteed to make you smile and be filled with Christmas spirit.
For intensely funny entertainment, A Christmas Carol is at the Playhouse until the 12th January. Tickets found below: