Year 8 Trip: ‘A Christmas Carol’

Published 26 January 2022

“It was great to go on my first school trip to the Old Vic Theatre, London to watch Jack Thorne’s version of Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’. The production was amazing and entertaining, and I loved every minute. The staging of the Old Vic makes you feel very Christmassy and before the lights dim, the actors hand out satsumas.  The story-telling takes you on Scrooge’s journey and it all builds into this attention-grabbing, music filled, fantastic production of Scrooge’s awakening. I would love to watch it all over again!” Harvey Robinson (8P2)

“We could not have asked more on the first day of school in the New Year, a visit to a two hundred year old theatre to watch a two hundred year old novel. Though Christmas had gone by, it was not too late for us to immerse ourselves in watching ‘A Christmas Carol’ at the Old Vic Theatre in London. As the lights dimmed and the plot unfolded, I could quickly identify the characters Dickens had created in the novel. Scrooge, played by Stephen Mangan, the main character of the novel, portrayed the typical behaviour and personality of a Victorian businessman. I could see a clear difference in Scrooge’s behaviour as the play progressed.

Though the theatre is two hundred years old, modern technologies, like robotic doors and other props were effectively used to suit the likes of a twenty-first century audience. I think the play was very successful, without modifying the original storyline, in communicating Dickens’ message about poverty and our moral duties associated with Christmas, along with conveying the festive spirit through the bells and music. I found the play very engaging and overall my experience was fascinating, enjoyable and educational.”
Rishik Kar (8P1)

“I think the play was amazing and I really loved how cleverly the performance was staged. The Old Vic theatre has an interesting stage; the stage is in the middle of the room with the seating all around it. I was intrigued by this set up and how it would be performed because it would be very hard for all of the audience to see the performance. When the performance began, I understood how it would work because they had people dancing and singing as they moved around the stage and three musicians playing, back-to-back, centre stage. This meant one or two musicians were seen from all sides. As the play went on the use of space was fantastic and in the panicked or scared scenes Scrooge ran around the stage making his emotions clear to the whole audience.

A Christmas Carol is an excellent book, and the storyline is interesting in itself but having it performed in front of us gave me a great insight into Scrooge’s personality. The actors were amazing and really important in both supporting and opposing Scrooge’s decisions. I especially liked the Ghost of Christmas Past as she had some funny lines but really got into Scrooge’s head, forcing him to think about his choices and reconsider what he has done. The scenes reflecting Scrooge’s past were so interesting and sad. In his school scenes when he is left on his own, he plays with a toy parrot and this being carried through to his future scenes has a really strong emotional impact and the audience can see he wasn’t always so fixated on earning money.

Another element of the performance I liked was how the staging blocks were used for chairs and tables and were part of the floor. This was a very clever idea because it meant people did not need to bring on props and the scenes could be set up a lot quicker. There were also lights underneath the floorboards of the stage which added a cool effect and it made some of the scenes spookier. The inclusion of the audience at the end was my favourite part as it gave the room a really happy atmosphere. Everyone felt very festive by the end and people were cheering and clapping at some points. The energy and comedy at the end of the production was great.”
Amy Oliver (8D3)