Christmas Show review: A Christmas Carol at The Castle theatre, Wellingborough

Greg Barnett (Scrooge), Emma Odell (Madge Crachit), Eammon Cox (Bob Crachit), Rebecca Ridout (Belle)
Greg Barnett (Scrooge), Emma Odell (Madge Crachit), Eammon Cox (Bob Crachit), Rebecca Ridout (Belle)

The annual Christmas show at The Castle theatre in Wellingborough is one of the joys of the festive season, and this year’s production was no different.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that A Christmas Carol was probably the best show I’ve seen there. That is some compliment because over the past few years there have been a string of superb festive shows staged in Wellingborough.

For the uninitiated, The Castle doesn’t really go in for the traditional slapstick and boring old jokes that you might find in some lesser shows.

No, what the cast and crew at The Castle offer is high quality festive entertainment that is a cut above the average panto.

This year’s innovative staging with a talented cast including dozens of local young performers brought the classic Dickens tale to life so vividly.

It is hard to know where to start when reviewing such a great show.

But let’s start at the beginning. The main players are all superb, funny and clearly extremely talented. They may not be household names, but I guarantee that you won’t find a better ensemble cast than this. Forget your soap stars and talent show wannabes, these performers are the real deal.

Every member of the all-singing, dancing and instrument-playing cast were exceptional.

Tom Attwood as Jacob Marley and Greg Barnett as Scrooge share significant stage time and their performances are real highlights.

But let’s not single them out, Eamonn Cox (Bob Cratchit/Father), Adam Hepworth (The Ghost of Christmas Future), Bryan Hodgson (The Ghost of Christmas Past), Giovanna Ryan (The Ghost of Christmas Present), Emma Odell (Madge Cratchit/Mother) and Rebecca Ridout (Belle) are excellent throughout.

The show is directed superbly by Luke Sheppard, with great costumes designed by Gabriella Slade and that evocactive set designed by Victoria Spearing.

Hats off as well to the music direction by Tom Attwood and the long list of excellent songs.

But regardless of what I think, the best reviews of shows like this come from children, and my two were enthralled, amused and excited by the spectacle that unfolded before them.

They loved it, and so did I.

A Christmas Carol by Ben Frost and Richard Hough, based on the story by Charles Dickens, runs until Tuesday, December 29.

For more information and ticket availability, visit http://www.thecastle.org.uk