Scrooge starring Michael Barrymore reviewed on www.chrishigh.com


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Chris High reviews: Scrooge January 2007

Michael Barrymore in Bill Kenwright’s Production of Scrooge

Geoffrey Abbot, Barry Howard, Gemma Page, Ian Dring, Abigale Jaye,
Anthony Stuart Lloyd, Marielle Dawson, Corey Burke, David Lyndon
Director: Bob Tomson
Illusionist: Paul Kieve
Choreographer: Lisa Kent
Liverpool Empire Theatre
Monday January 22nd, 2007

Scrooge starring Michael Barrymore: promotional image

SCROOGE starring
Michael Barrymore


Following a sell-out season in the West End at London’s most famous theatre, The Palladium, Scrooge returned to Liverpool bigger and better than ever. This heart-warming family musical based on Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol featured spectacular sets and costumes and specially created illusions by magician Paul Kieve, responsible for the magical effects in the Harry Potter films, to provide a show packed with memorable songs and classic characters.

Michael Barrymore on stage performingMichael Barrymore, it has to be said, is something of an enigma. One of Britain’s most popular entertainers, Barrymore has had his fair share of troubles and, unlike the present Z-list incumbents of the BB House, can actually thank Big Brother for exorcising some of his demons, rather than creating new ones.

Here, he hit the stage and received a welcome from the Liverpool audience that was both warm and emotional enough for the star to pause to catch his breath, before going on to create a fresh side to the infamous character he was portraying – that of a mild eccentric with a penchant for mischief.

True, his vocal range when it comes to singing is not the best and, at times, Barrymore resorted to speaking the lyrics. Yet overall, his performance as the curmudgeonly old miser can rank along anybody’s for its entertainment value so that when singing I’ll Begin Again, a song that contains the lyrics “I’ll start again” and “I’ll make amends”, all traces of irony are deeply hidden within the performance.

Comebacks? Michael Barrymore has more talent for them than Lazarus and long may he continue to show these talents off to those of us less skilled.

Other performances of note came from Geoffrey Abbot, who as Bob Cratchit, out-sang just about every other male on the stage, with the possible exception of Anthony Stuart Lloyd, who again – as he did last year with Shane Ritchie in the lead – played the role of The Ghost Of Christmas Present, with great gusto, verve and pathos. This giant of a man can fill an auditorium so well with his voice and presence, he leaves an almost indelible mark on the evening. Gemma Page, standing in for Sheri Copeland, played the role of Christmas Past superbly and had the voice of an absolute angel, whereas Corey Burke as Tiny Tim, broke hearts at random singing The Beautiful Day.

Overall this is a superb re-working of a timeless classic that could, quite frankly, have Gordon Brown as the star and still be a winner. That Michael Barrymore and his colleagues have stepped up to the mark so well, is testament to them and to the classic author who created their characters, one hundred and fifty-nine years ago.
9/10

WHEN: 22nd Jan to 27th Jan
WHERE: Liverpool Empire Theatre, Liverpool

WHEN: 29th Jan to 10th Feb
WHERE: Festival Theatre, Edinburgh
TIMES: 19:30. Thu, Sat Mats 14:30

Click here to view details and book for the Liverpool Empire Theatre


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