Merry Christmas, Carol takes your bah humbug frown and turns it upside down. Don’t just take my word for it, believe the sold out Royal Court audience.
Scouse power house Helen Carter writes and stars in this modern all female twist on the classic Charles Dickens tale A Christmas Carol. For anyone unaware of the original story Scrooge is a proper tight bastard who’s visited by three spirits; ghost of christmas past, ghost of Christmas present, and ghost of christmas future. Merry Christmas, Carol weaves the original fable into a modern story about money obsessed workaholic, Carol (Carter) heading to work on Christmas eve in pursuit of a big promotion, leaving her daughter (Molly Madigan) alone at home with her guitar.
Carol comes across a real pack of characters throughout the play who present her with a valuable lesson or serve as a remind for who she is and who she can be. Eithne Brown dominates the stage as five wildly different characters and serves as the two representations of Carols future. She plays them all with honesty, heart, and hilarity. I’m in love with her and her beautiful singing voice.
The reworked classic carols and holiday tunes did well to drive the plot forward and add a bit Scouse humour. The musical aspect was really boosted by the actors playing their instruments on stage, Jessica Dives playing piano throughout and Paislie Reid even beat boxing at some points. Madigan along with Rachel Hilton play their guitars while performing, Madigan using her music to express the characters feelings and desires, whereas Hilton uses soft tunes and festive rhymes like a troubadour to guide us through the story.
TBH the cast are never still, whether it’s moving the set round, doubling up their roles, playing instruments, or carolling off to the side, which made for some great transitions between scenes, adding to the hustle and bustle of Carols life and the busy Christmas period.
While it’s really inspiring to see a group of extremely talented women putting on a performance like this, I think the feminist message get’s a bit muddled near the end. That said, Carols impassioned speech delivers an emotional punch and leaves us on a positive note.
The Royal Court Studio felt like the perfect intimate place to experience such an intimate show. So if you fancy seeing something Christmassy but you want a bit of substance, get down there and book your tickets. You’ll have a boss time.
P.S. I want Carols emerald suit. Like give it to me.