Review: A Christmas Carol, Waterside Arts, Sale

We were invited to see A Christmas Carol by Waterside Arts in Sale. All opinions are our own.

Everyone loves a ghost story at Christmas, and for my money, there’s no better ghost story than A Christmas Carol. On Friday, we went along to Waterside Arts in Sale, Greater Manchester to spend an evening watching A Christmas Carol, performed by Guy Masterson.

A Christmas Carol has been made into many films. It’s such a part of Christmas, I can’t imagine a December without calling an especially grumpy relative Scrooge. It’s been made and performed a thousand times over, but this one man show, this monologue performance by Guy Masterson was a masterpiece in storytelling.

Like all Dickens’ stories, there is a cast of many, all performed by Guy Masterson. Each one with a voice or mannerism of their own. Each character you can imagine perfectly, all due to a flick of some hair or the imaginary swish of some petticoats.

Review: A Christmas Carol, Waterside Arts, Sale

A Christmas Carol, performed by Guy Masterson

The stage is sparsely set with a chair and a coat on a hook. No other props are used, all are imagined by actor, Guy Masterson. Every sip from a cup, or closing of a door, you can see in your minds eye. You don’t need anything more, because Guy performs with such intensity, you are fully in the moment. You could hear a pin drop throughout. He jumps, runs, twirls and dances across the stage with a kind of energy I’ve long since been able to muster.

The show is 80 minutes long with an interval. It’s a masterclass in memory and Guy never stumbles. There’s the occasional and not at all hammy twinkly knowing eye to the audience, but the whole 80 minutes are an intense retelling of this classic Christmas tale. The ghosts, and the ghostly descriptions are vivid enough to cause the hairs on the back of your neck to stand on end. Tiny Tim is the sickly hero, played so beautifully you can imagine his pale face at the hearthside.

Each character is perfectly drawn by Guy. Everything is so minimal and sparce that the intensity of the performance really sings loudest. I felt like I’d not drawn breath for the whole 80 minutes.

It was a wonderful way to revisit one of my favourite Christmas tales. It was intense and left you with much to think about. It’s a reminder, as if anyone needed one, that life can be peppered with regrets, and it’s never too late to change your path and do better.

Alas, the show was at Waterside Arts for one night only, but Guy is on tour at various theatres throughout the UK in December. It’s not a colourful, jolly festive feast, but the right kind of ghost story for this time of year. It’s a real treat for Dickens fans. I loved it, and it’ll stay with me for a while.

If you’re local to Waterside Arts, Sale and would like to catch a Christmas show, then there are several different shows on their website with tickets available

If you enjoyed this, you might like to find out about other Christmas shows in and around Manchester this year.