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Photo credit: Christmas candle (Photo by Mariana B. on Unsplash)

A complete guide to all the ‘A Christmas Carol’ shows in London

Sophie Thomas
Sophie Thomas

Each year, theatres across London deck their stages with enough Christmas decorations to be seen from space. There's shows suitable for all occasions too, including star-studded pantomimes, Nativity retellings, and seasonal comedies. One story has elevated itself to become a "must-see" to really make December complete: A Christmas Carol.

Charles Dickens's festive tale is perhaps one of the most famous stories of all time. Set on Christmas Eve, the story follows Ebenezer Scrooge as he's met by three ghosts over the course of one night. Whisked on a time-travelling adventure to confront his way of life, he eventually changes for the better. Each year, there's a multitude of A Christmas Carol productions around the city, all adapting this well-known classic into a Yuletide extravaganza. 2021 is no exception, with two separate A Christmas Carol shows in the West End.

Here's our complete guide to all the takes on A Christmas Carol shows in London in 2021.

Is A Christmas Carol a play or a musical?

Productions of A Christmas Carol at the Old Vic and A Christmas Carol at Alexandra Palace are both plays. In the Old Vic show, audiences can expect to hear original music, conceived and created by Christopher Nightingale. Over at Alexandra Palace, A Christmas Carol will be told as a play too. However, that production of A Christmas Carol will be told as a ghost story. Cratchit at the Park Theatre is also a play, but will see Bob Cratchit visited by three ghosts, rather than Scrooge.

Are they all new productions of A Christmas Carol?

The Old Vic will be home to A Christmas Carol for the fifth consecutive year. Dickens's story was adapted by Jack Thorne and directed by Matthew Warchus. In 2019, this production of A Christmas Carol transferred to Broadway's Lyceum Theatre and won five Tony Awards.

A Christmas Carol at Alexandra Palace is a brand new production, adapted by Mark GatissA Christmas Carol opens at Nottingham Playhouse, then transfers to London for the winter season.

Cratchit was first streamed from the Old Red Lion Theatre in 2020, during the pandemic. Cratchit London performances in 2021 mark the show's in-person premiere. 

Who is playing Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol?

Having an opportunity to perform this career-defining role is not something to be scoffed at.

At the Old VicStephen Mangan is the latest actor to take on the role in Jack Thorne's adaptation. In the West End, he's recently been in The Man in the White Suit and The Birthday Party. He'll be the latest in a quintet of prestigious actors to lead the Old Vic's Christmas tradition of A Christmas Carol, following Andrew Lincoln, Paterson Joseph, Stephen Tompkinson, and Griff Rhys Jones.

In Mark Gatiss' A Christmas Carol adaptation, Nicholas Farrell plays Scrooge. In London, he's been in The Wild Duck at the Almeida Theatre, Peter and Alice and Browning Version/South Downs.

Rather than focusing on Scrooge, Cratchit at the Park Theatre focuses on Bob Cratchit.

Who is in the cast of A Christmas Carol?

Adaptor Mark Gatiss plays Jacob Marley, joined by James Backway as Fred, Angelina Chudi as Caroline, Jo Eaton-Kent as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Zak Ford-Williams as Tiny Tim, Aoife Gaston as Belle, Christopher Godwin as the Narrator, Edward Harrison as Bob Cratchit, Sarah Ridgeway as Mrs Cratchit and Joe Shire as the Ghost of Christmas Present.

Sticking to previous years, there's plenty of familiar faces in the Old Vic's production of A Christmas Carol. The lead cast features Jack Shalloo, Bridgette Amofah, Amanda Hadingue, Rachel John, Andrew Langtree and James Staddon.

When does each production of A Christmas Carol open in London?

A Christmas Carol at the Old Vic begins previews on 13 November. The show officially opens on 24 November, and runs to 8 Jan. 2022.

A Christmas Carol at Alexandra Palace opens later in the month, running from 26 November to 9 Jan. 2022.

Cratchit is at the Park Theatre from 7 December to 8 Jan. 2022.

Photo credit: Christmas candle (Photo by Mariana B. on Unsplash)

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