A Christmas Carol – Recording Review

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I recently got into a very heated discussion with one of my close friends after including the iconic Christmas Carol “Ding Dong Merrily on High” into a playlist that we were listening to. Admittedly this show was not the vets choice for the disco celebration we were having but their issue was not with the exact song choice but the fact that they thought it was way too early to start listening to Christmas songs but I strongly disagree! I have been wearing festive t-shirts and listening to Christmas songs (such as the aforementioned ding dong merrily on high and all o want for Christmas is you) since February this year. Very recently, I sat and listened to “ding dong” for an hour on repeat after a night out. I think the generally excepted time to start with the festive music is after Halloween but I think it really should be all year long although I do possess an extreme love for Christmas! Every year at Christmas time, the city I live in hosts a winter wonderland which last year was hosted in a castle. While this was wonderfully magical, there was no ice skating and most shockingly no Santa for the kids. I knew I had to fix this issue so I decided to purchase a Santa outfit and go about my day visiting the food stalls etc as Jolly old Saint Nick himself! I heard shouts from kids telling me they have been very good this year and they can’t wait to leave me out milk and cookies etc so I do think it was worth it! With all this in mind, this is why we have created a review of a musical adoration of the legendary “A Christmas Carol” at the beginning of October as anything that creates festive cheer and magical excitement should be promote all year round (especially after the terrible two years we have all had!)

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This original cast recording comes from the logo theatre’s in house musical team which includes the incredibly family team of Dr Nicky Chavers and Christy Chavers Stutzman (who are the writers of this new album) and Dr Nicky’s daughter Nicole Chavers Stratton who was in charge of adapting the stage script directly from the original novel written by Charles Dickens. As you might have guessed from the title, this is a musical that is based on the iconic Dicken’s book which most people may be familiar with. In case you have never heard this story before, it follows Ebenezer Scrooge who cannot stand Christmas or any of the festivities it brings. His obsession with money brings a visitation of three ghosts who show him where his greedy and selfish life will lead him and by the story he becomes a lot more passionate about the holidays! All eighteen tracks with this album (which covers just over an hour in length) all contain some sense of religious teaching or ideology and so if you are passionately against religion especially during the holiday season then I don’t think this is a show for you, but if you do have a love for a more classical idea of Christmas then this adaptation is perfect for you!

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I thought that the opening number in this recording “When all is said and done” was a wonderful way to open up this album! It was a fantastic chorus number that was crammed full of energy which instantly grabs the audience’s attention. It is very tense and atmospheric that creates an eerie warning of selfish ways which helps to introduce the whole story of the show and gives it an almost myth style structure that contains an important lesson. The song “such a sinner” gave me very “Belle” the opening song from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Musical as the townspeople insult and berate Scrooge about his selfish ways. I imagine that this is set with the chorus berating with while Scrooge is completely oblivious and is instead sorting out the office or something like this. This would in turn exaggerate the impact of the ghosts’ visits and help to show how ignorant he is to other people which would also highlight the charge in character by the end of the story! Many of the songs within the album have cleverly integrated some of the most famous Christmas carols to really amp up the religious and festive undertones. For example during “crossroads of my past” is featured snippets from “O come, o come Emanuel.” This song talks about the power of hymns and how they can instantly put you into the Christmas mood if you were brought up listening to them. The entire song titled “Good Christians, rejoice” is actually a medley of Christmas songs including god rest ye Merry gentlemen and Joy to the world just to name two. While this eight-minute song is a homage to this classic Christmas songs, there was a rhythmic break I the middle of the song that would be perfect for a fairly short dance break that included clapping. I was instantly filled with excitement during “Let Christmas Live” where I heard a version of part of the song “Ding Dong Merrily on High” (which is actually one of my all-time favourites in case you have guessed already)

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The track “Someday Together” was an incredibly emotional song performed by two very talented young artists. It is clear that both singers are very talented and are ones to watch out for in the near future with their cute voices really adding to the heart full nature of the lyrics. This song did bring me fairly close to tears due to how sweet it was and was a nice contrast to the rest of the song of this recording! I also really enjoyed the song titled “Fezziwigs Jig” which was a super fun number that was crammed full of energy throughout. It was a big chorus number which I assume creates an overwhelming sense of celebration when performed live which makes the more emotional sections of this song even more impactful. Towards the middle of this number, there is a beautiful duet that serves as an almost love song between the two characters. After this, however, the song goes back to the celebratory music which was great fun to listen to!

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Overall, this is a very exciting musical adaptation of the classic tale. It must be very difficult to create a musical of a story that has been adapted so many times and making it unique enough that the audience does not feel like they have seen it hundreds of times before. The team behind Logo theatre have managed to do this with ease with some very beautiful original music. If you are looking for a musical to help you get into the Christmas spirit (regardless of how early in the year it may be) then this recording of “A Christmas Carol” is a great place to start! I would rate it 4 out of 5 stars!

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