Monday, December 13, 2010


I think I've made my feelings pretty clear on musical on this blog before...I don't particularly like them.

I ignored my gut instinct and was pleasantly surprised when I attended Hairspray in November, so when the girls from the theatre offered me a ticket to see Scrooge I was a little excited. I've always been a bit partial to the Christmas tale of the man who hated Christmas.

Not being a huge fan of the festive season myself and Scrooge have a lot in common. But like him and unlike the weather my feelings on it have thawed in recent times. Speaking of weather, the walk to the theatre from the Grand Canal Hotel was treacherous. Office shoes are not made to walk on ice and snow covered pavements.

I tend to drive everywhere because walking is for people who have too much time on their hands so I hadn't really prepared myself for the conditions. On walking out of the hotel I was immediately in trouble...a bit like Bambi was I. At one point I was hanging onto the side of the railings guiding myself very slowly along the path...that is until I was humbled by the site of a woman casually walking along the ice beside me while talking on the phone. So I manned up and tried to walk unaided. It was difficult but the 8 minute walk did take 25.

On arriving in the Grand Canal Theatre I picked up the tickets said hello to the girls and made myself home at the bar with a lovely glass of red. I have to say my seat couldn't have been better. I shared an isle with Pat Kenny, Gay Byrne and Brian Ormond, all of whom looked enviously on at my central location while they were seated in the wings. Thanks girls.

Air conditioning under the seats if you don't mind!!! I was really at home. The show kicked off with some singing...not sure about that, but I quickly warmed up the Tommy Steel's brilliant performance as Scrooge. I believe the man is in his 70's? Well he certainly uses all his experience in the show. His facial expressions and body movements alone are enough to keep the audience entertained. Funny and entertaining in equal measures Steele certainly knows what he's doing...but after over 1,500 appearances in the West End you'd expect him to.

But there is much more to this musical than Mr Steele. The set is stunning and really does make you feel like you are in the 1800's, not that I know what it feels like it to be from that era but you get the point. I know these guys have probably been performing this show in London for a couple of hundred years but their timing was really on the money, especially considering this was just their third show in Dublin.

I read earlier that day that the special effects guy that worked on Harry Potter is involved in the production so I was interested but a little skeptical to see what he could do on stage. I was blown away. People appearing, disappearing explosions, ghosts and mirrors that were there but not there. Stunning stuff.

Don't ask me to name check any of the songs or the actors because I have an awful memory and I was too cheap to buy the brochure but there were fine performances all round. None more than little Darren Dixon who plays Tiny Tim.

So all in all if you are looking for something to get you into the Christmas spirit...if you excuse the pun, than Scooge is your man. Walking out into the snow covered Grand Canal Square made it all the more apt and enjoyable...that is until I tried to take a step and nearly ended up looking at the stats. Which brings me to my biggest tip for anyone looking to venture down to see Mr Steele...don't wear office shoes.


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