A Christmas Carol has to be one of Charles Dickens most popular and enduring tales. It has been portrayed on film many times, including a black and white version staring Alistair Sim as Scrooge (my father's favourite version) through to Jim Carey, and let's not forget Michael Caine bravely acting with the Muppets in their version (I have to admit that this version is one of my guilty pleasures). There have been multiple stage versions too, and I've seen a few of those over the years, but I've never taken part in the action - until last night.
Situated a few minutes stroll from Oxford Street, tucked behind Bond Street station, there's a secret entrance to Victorian London where a warm welcome awaits from a Dickensian gentleman. We were briefed that we had now left our human state and entered into the spirit world. He escorted us to the Lamb & Lion where the aroma of spices from mulled wine (£7) and Tiny Tim's Toddy (£7.50) made with Bourbon, honey, orange, cloves and cinnamon greeted us. Cocktails included the Humbug (£9) made with Irish Whiskey, Bailey's and coffee liqueur, and the Fizziwig (£9) made with gin, cherry liqueur, cranberry and soda water. There is also champagne, white and red wines available by the glass or bottle and canned beers.
Us 'spirits' sat along the walls of Scrooge's parlour, and were briefed that our mission was to rescue him before he suffered the same fate as Jacob Marley. We eyed-up the list of his debtors with some amusement, I think Bulbus Salutation is my favourite, which is yours? Marley was played with great gusto and warmth by Jack Whitam, and we needed little encouragement to play our part in scaring Scrooge, ably played by Alexander Barclay. His acting was fabulous, and genuinely moving as he was made to remember his sad lonely school days, his affection for his sister Fan, and the joyful work environment at Whizziwigs.
As Scrooge started to regain the spirit of Christmas we moved into the centre of the room, the table was laid with lovely attention to detail using vintage plates from the era. We were served a generous turkey dinner served with stuffing pie, a fabulous port reduction, gravy and perfectly cooked vegetables. The catering is by Flavourology.
Served family style we were encouraged to talk to our neighbours and tell jokes from our crackers; which were delivered in an unexpected manner! We joined in the parlour games, sang the carols, and were entertained by music and song from both actors; such a talented pair. I think that there's no doubting that Scrooge had remembered the joys of Christmas and the value of family and friends.
We thoroughly enjoyed this experience, and now feel ready for the festivities. The evening we attended the audience was largely comprised of couples or pairs of friends, but this would work well for a work outing or groups of friends. Highly recommended - no Bah Humbug from us.
Running Time 100 mins (including a 2 course meal)
Venue Scrooge’s Parlour, Immersive|LDN, 56 Davies Street, W1K 5HR
Ticket Price £65.50 - £71.50 including a 2 course meal (£50.50 concessions)
Box Office Arts Tickets (www.artstickets.co.uk),
020 7836 8463
Hartshorn - Hook Productions (hartshornhook.com)
Performance Dates November 27th 2019 – January 5th 2020
Tuesday – Saturday, 7.15pm*
1pm matinees on Saturdays
6.00pm performance on Sundays**
*There will be no performances on Christmas and New Years day
**There will be an additional Sunday matinee at 1pm on 22nd and 29th December
Disclaimer: We were guests of Hartshorn - Hook Productions. All editorial content is our own.