REVIEW: ‘A Christmas Carol’ – The Island Free School

Last Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, pupils from The Island Free School took to the stage to perform their adaption of ‘A Christmas Carol’ and it was clear straight away that the audience were in for a real treat. The simple – yet effective rustic scaffold staircase set design, allowed for some scenes to be delivered up on separate levels, adding extra dimension. The hanging old style lanterns and chains, also looked extremely effective and really framed the stage area.

The large cast ranging from Year 8 -11  entered and immediately the audience knew this was not going to be like any other production of A Christmas Carol that they had ever seen before. 

The Director – Mrs Steele, must be congratulated for her use of Brechtian techniques and references throughout, as not only was it interesting to watch, but it kept the audience on the edge of their seats wondering what the performers would do next. 

The skillful group of Narrators held the show together like glue, often moulding together to become props or part of the set, with most also taking other smaller roles throughout the performance. 

The team work element was strong. A combination of ensemble song and dance numbers, clever props/costumes, and creative lighting effects, made it hard to believe it was a secondary school production at times.

The real star though was Isaac F, who was simply outstanding as Ebenezer Scrooge. Isaac’s mannerisms and sarcastic facial expressions were spot on. Taking on such a well known role is hard, but Isaac certainly made it his own. Isaac highlighted what a versatile actor he is, particularly when Scrooge changed his ways at the end.

Scrooge’s faithful business partner Jacob Marley was played with ease by Ellie W and the scenes between Marley and Scrooge were a highlight – particularly when the Spirit of Marley returned to inform Scrooge about his fate, if he did not change his ways.

‘The Ghosts of Christmas Past’ (Olivia B, Amelie R and Erin P) moved together as one and created a vibrant entrance as the first spirits to visit Scrooge with the clever use of head lights.

‘The Ghosts of Christmas Present’ (Darcey H, Lauren K and Erin T) added colour and elegance, whilst delivering their lines with confidence. The use of puppetry in their scene was highly effective.

Everyone deserves a mention, but some other stand out performances include Henry B (Fred- Scrooge’s Nephew), Jake E (Young Ebenezer) and Lara B (Young Marley) who all had great stage presence.

The Cratchit family represented the true meaning of Christmas perfectly and lifted the mood with their display of relatable family traditions, but also delivered an emotional scene – with special mention to Finley R as Bob Cratchit – whose believable portrayal of a grieving Father of Tiny Tim, actually moved audience members to tears.

TIFS very own Mr Balch, not only starred as ‘Fezziwig’ but created an original score especially for the show. His song “Change your ways Ebenezer” in particular, was a real stand out ensemble number, where the audience were treated to the most impressive prop creation – The Ghost of Christmas’s yet to come. 

It was clear that The Island Free School strive to achieve a very high standard for their performances and that a lot of work had clearly gone into the rehearsal process. 

Director Mrs Steele and of course all of the pupils should feel very proud of their hard work and dedication. It was a visually creative masterpiece that brought the spirit of Christmas to life.

Reviewed by Rosie Sales

One comment

  1. Wonderful, well deserved review of the TIFS production of A Christmas Carol including much deserved praise for Isaac F ( please note the correct spelling! )

    Liked by 1 person

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