The Muppet Christmas Carol Live in Concert Review | The Bridgewater Hall | Manchester
The Bridgewater Hall’s yuletide festivities are kicking off with the classic holiday fable, A Christmas Carol, seen through the prism of puppets.
Complementing Charles Dickens heart-warming and humbling novel, the 1943 tale has been updated by The Jim Henson Company in spectacular fashion and is now accompanied by the Novello orchestra for a live and unbeatably attractive repackaging of the tale. With a cinema size projection hanging overhead of the Novello, the score sores through the audience to encapsulate the best of both a live concert and a film screening.
With the story narrated by Gonzo and Rizzo, alongside Kermit as Bob Cratchit and Miss Piggy as Mrs Cratchit, all your favourite Muppets are on screen to mend your holiday blues. The backdrop of gritty London streets is lit up by the colourful cast members for a wickedly fun take that puts our only live-action cast member on screen at the helm of the story. Bringing Michael Caine as the crotchety Ebenezer who pledges to demean any lazy bum unwilling to work on Christmas day, the story follows his intervention of three spirits who drudge up some unhappy memories he would rather forget.
The familiar story guides the audience through a journey of transformation in which Scrooge’s surprise visitors deliver their dire warnings of his past, present and future self. While the Muppets movie completely compensates for a remixing of this recognisable and annually reshaped story, the film’s musical interludes truncate the dialogue allowing the orchestra to sprinkle the film with additional momentum. The vivacious production bombastic score is amplified by the Novella and refreshes the feature in a live reincarnation that reintroduces the 1992 original soundtrack. The score on its own is wonderfully entertaining with tracks including Scrooge and the light-hearted instrumental Fooziwig’s Party.
Diving into the Disney archive and watching live music performed at the Bridgewater Hall is a wonderful experience and the show offers a gratifying Christmas treat. The production presents an exciting concoction that stunningly displays the orchestra's skill in an approachable style. But don’t worry if you missed the Muppets, you can take a glance at your own future on the Bridgewater website as a string of concerts are yet to come, including Love Actually and Toy Story later this year and early 2022.