Review: ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Smoking Apples at Bridge House Theatre, Warwick

We were lucky enough to go and see ‘A Christmas Carol’ at Bridge House Theatre, Warwick. The show is produced by Smoking Apples and Bridge House Theatre. Smoking Apples are a theatre company who specialise in puppetry and visual theatre. They create shows for all ages, often involving difficult, hard-to-digest subject matters. This year’s Christmas production sees them take on the festive classic ‘A Christmas Carol’. Here is our review. a christmas carol set

What is the show about?

The story tells of the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge. Mr Scrooge HATES Christmas and is extremely greedy. He is mean to his work colleague Bob Cratchit and also his nephew who invites him over for Christmas day. Scrooge is visited by three ghosts. Firstly, the ghost of Christmas past tells him of his unhappy childhood and relationship. Secondly, the ghost of Christmas present shows him the errors of his current ways. Then finally, the ghost of Christmas future foresees his death. The shock of this harsh lesson ensures that Scrooge is able change his ways, become less greedy and mean and also join in with the joys of Christmas.

A masterclass in storytelling

At the beginning, on entry to the theatre, we were amused to see it all decked out in Victorian Christmas splendour, with Christmas trees, posters from the era and even ‘Privy’ signs pointing out where the facilities were. When we entered the theatre and took our seats, we were greeted by members of the cast, all in character. Our little girl was encouraged to poke her tongue out and blow raspberries at Scrooge should she see him walk past her seat. She was very pleased at the interaction, as were we. Keeping a little one entertained whilst waiting for a show to start can sometimes be a challenge, especially if you don’t want to break out the emergency snacks just yet! The show itself was simply superb. Smoking Apples truly do provide a masterclass in storytelling. Throughout the story, they kept the audience engaged and entertained. Special mention to Sam Redway who played Mr Scrooge for his portrayal of the character. We really believed in him and took him to our hearts. Little C, as well as loving Scrooge, also enjoyed the performance from Matt Lloyd, one of the cast members and also co-artistic director of Smoking Apples. He plays a rather ‘silly’ man for most of the show and that really appealed to my little one’s fun-loving nature.

Magical and majestic

The show was both magical and majestic. The production included puppetry, actors, music and special effects. The puppets were handmade creations and like nothing I’d seen before on stage. The way in which the cast used everyday kitchen items to create the character of Tiny Tim was amazing! The set made great use of the space, and we particularly enjoyed scenes where Scrooge was walking home past many doors. Also, the forest scene just before the ghost of Christmas future tells of his death was spellbinding. The scene which everyone in my family enjoyed in particular was a brilliantly choreographed food fight. Little C was on the edge of her seat for this and couldn’t get enough of it. The two actors who performed this were fantastic and really had us hooked. The whole production had us hooked from start to finish and we were in awe at some of the puppet creations.

Fun for all of the family

As a family, we love going to the theatre but sometimes have to be extra thoughtful of our daughter. Can she sit through a full length show? Are there any scary bits that might be unsuitable? Will she enjoy it? We were very nervous at taking her to ‘A Christmas Carol’ at first, as we knew the story could be a bit bleak at times and the ghosts could be scary. But Smoking Apples and Bridge House Theatre have created this wonderful masterpiece that is suitable and enjoyable for all of the family. We had to tell her that some of the sound effects were just noises being played through the speakers and that the actors were only pretending. Once she knew that, she loved it and really bought into the story and the tale of Scrooge. The actors coming into the audience were a great bonus with her, and she even got to meet the characters after the play as they came into the foyer to continue their interaction. Scrooge did come past us in the audience during the show. Little C didn’t blow a raspberry at him. Instead, she shouted ‘Merry Christmas Scrooge!’ to him. His reply? ‘Bah Humbug!!!’. She couldn’t stop laughing.

The glory of theatre

Live theatre and storytelling is fantastic for a child’s learning, and entertaining for all three of us. Seeing more theatre in 2019 was on our wish list for the year too, so it has been great to enjoy lots of live theatre that this area has to offer. It was nice to see a classic tale being retold in a way that we’ve never seen before. Bravo Smoking Apples and Bridge House Theatre, you’ve really shown us the true meaning of Christmas!

How do I get tickets?

If you’re looking to take your family to see a show this Christmas, we whole-heartedly recommend ‘A Christmas Carol’. It is being performed from 12th-24th December 2019 at the Bridge House Theatre, Warwick which is based at Warwick School. Tickets can be purchased from the Bridge House Theatre Website or by calling the box office on 01926 776438. Have you been to see A Christmas Carol at the Bridge House Theatre? If so, we’d love to hear what you thought of the production! Join in the conversation by using the comments box below, or via our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. (Note: We received tickets in exchange for this review, however all views and opinions are our own.)

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