A CHRISTMAS CAROL: A MUSICAL

As well you know by now, I like the story of A CHRISTMAS CAROL. I like its dark social commentaries. I like the different versions, and their take on Scrooge’s transformation.

I also like musicals. A great deal.

So theoretically, this 2004 musical version should work. But it doesn’t, at least for me. The sentimentality scale is way over the top. All three ghosts are present in Scrooge’s London. There are winks and obvious foreshadowing. And nothing is particularly scary. Sure, there are ghosts in the Marley scene that are a little frightening but then they break into a musical number. Even Ignorance and Want aren’t frightening, just odd looking.

Added to the sentimentality, there is an over explaining of the story. They add scenes like Scrooge’s father being sent to jail for debt (which happened to Dickens), or Scrooge and Marley turning down Fezziwig for a loan. In the Ghost of Christmas Future graveyard scene his mother and sister Fran (as a child) join in the musical number.

And the musical numbers. There are a couple of good songs, and some very impressive numbers, but it is all too much. Whereas SCROOGE had numbers, they were as dark as the story itself. These are very big old musical, and the tone doesn’t work.

I am going to show this to my 8 year old fellow critics, and will report their response. But for me, the attempt was noble (I mean, come on, there are HUGE production numbers), but it falls short.

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