Tag Archives: Alan Menken

REVIEW: A Christmas Carol – Lourdes Theatre Group, Glasgow

As we tip-toe towards the Christmas season, Lourdes Theatre Group take us a step closer to that festive feeling with this production of Alan Menken and Lynn Ahrens’ A Christmas Carol. 

This is the perfect show to help get into the spirit of the season, having as it does a joyous charm throughout. Menken and Ahren’s music has that magical Disney feel that will soften even the hardest of hearts.

The large ensemble are fine voiced from the start and truly shine when singing together, their joy at performing together just radiates from the faces of the performers throughout. 

Accompanied by one of the best sounding orchestras I’ve heard anywhere in the UK the musicians are polished to perfection. Special credit must go to the masterful musical direction of Des McLean who keeps the energy levels and quality up for the length of the piece and to the sound engineers who had the balance of orchestra and voice perfectly balanced throughout.

This is a largely youthful cast ably supported by a small band of more seasoned performers: Kevin Lynch in the central role of Ebenezer Scrooge is a fantastic talent, with crystal-clear diction and a soaring voice, he convincingly portrays the transformation of the cold-hearted miser with a sureness of touch and no small amount of skill. In smaller but memorable roles are: Sarah Kerr as the Blind Old Hag/Ghost of Christmas Future – not only in possession of a beautiful voice, Kerr is a fine young actress and dancer as well. Lee Anne Holly and Claire McKernan as Mrs. Cratchitt and Sally Anderson are also both strong-voiced young actresses who doubtlessly would shine given bigger roles. Special mention must also go to Alexander Campbell, one of the tiniest cast members who stole the hearts of the audience as the young Scrooge.

This is an engaging production, performed with spirit and heart, and its warmth will fill you choc full of the true spirit of Christmas. See it if you can.

Runs until Saturday at Lourdes Secondary, Cardonald.

REVIEW: A Christmas Carol – Our Lady’s Light Opera, Motherwell Theatre

The temperature certainly has the feeling of the festive season, so what better way to warm your heart than with this musical version of Charles Dickens beloved tale. In their 50th anniversary year Our Lady’s Light Opera stage Alan Menken and Lynn Ahrens’ A Christmas Carol.

This vast and highly accomplished cast fill the stage with a quality and enthusiasm that cannot fail to capture your heart. Menken and Ahrens evocative and uplifting music is sung and acted at its best.

In the central role of Ebenezer Scrooge, John McKenzie‘s  powerful voice fills the auditorium with strength and clarity, skilfully driving the narrative throughout, his acting focus never wavering throughout the course of the two hour show. Especially effective is the realisation of the Ghost of Jacob Marley, fantastically clad with added voice effects, Laurie Thompson adeptly creates the role. Praise must also go to the fine voice of Christopher Morris in the small supporting role of Ebenezer’s nephew Fred, with a truly beautiful tone, he is a delight to listen to every time he is on stage. Possibly a performer destined for greater triumphs.

The junior performers equip themselves just as well, providing just the right amount of charm without descending into tweeness. Adam Stewart as Tiny Tim and Ciaran Rogers as the young Ebenezer are both in possession of crystal clear voices that won’t fail to move you.

Praise must go to director Alan C. Jones for inventively staging the piece: clever setting and smooth scene changes ensure a seamless transition from set piece to set piece. Lavishly costumed, the supporting performers add depth and bring the Dickensian characters thrillingly alive, giving the production a polished professional finish. The special effects too are highly convincing, adding extra dramatic effect and atmosphere – and you won’t fail to be charmed as the first flutters of snow fall in the final moments.

The evening flies by, and that is a testament to the quality of the story telling and the performances by the actors. Thoroughly engaging throughout, this is a sure footed and deftly performed show from a hugely accomplished cast. Highly recommended.