'Two hours of captivating escapism' - Review of An Edinburgh Christmas Carol at the Royal Lyceum Theatre

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It is a story we know and love, but with an Edinburgh twist. - and it works.

Writer and director Tony Cownie invites his audience to join him 'on the snowy streets of the Old Town for a festive comedy' as Charles Dickens' classic Christmas tale is revisited.

With a cast of just 11 - including two fabulous puppets - An Edinburgh Christmas Carol offers two hours of captivating escapism.

With a cast of just 11 - including two fabulous puppets - An Edinburgh Christmas Carol offers two hours of captivating escapism.

With a cast of just 11 - including two fabulous puppets - An Edinburgh Christmas Carol offers two hours of captivating escapism.

The tale is pretty much the same as the original, with grumpy Ebenezer Scrooge (played by Crawford Logan) visited by ghosts on Christmas Eve, each offering him the chance to realise the flaws of his past and make changes to his behaviour for a better future.

But this all happens in the Capital, against a backdrop of the Castle and in front of the gates to Greyfriars Kirkyard where a well-known terrier is passing his days, mourning the loss of his beloved master, Auld Jock.

It has been told that Dickens came upon the idea for his book on a trip to Edinburgh when he stumbled across a gravestone of one Ebenezer Scroggie. In turn, this production was born.

As the town council threatens to send in the dog catcher for Greyfriars Bobby, the townsfolk try to raise money for his collar and licence, pleading with the wealthy Scrooge for a contribution.

"Humbug! You think I have nothing better to do with my money than squander it on that manky halfwit dog?"

Bobby's love for his deceased owner, and the people of Edinburgh's affection for the dog, are in stark contrast to Scrooge's selfish ways.

Cue lots of humour on Scrooge's journey to redemption as his miserly behaviour is pointed out by the likes of Mrs Busybody (Nicola Roy): "Your house is so cold, Mr Scrooge you'll be farting snowballs".

There is something for all ages in this production, from slap-stick humour and witty one-liners, to an impressive set and cast.

And there is Christmas magic at the end - just wait and see.

4/5 stars

An Edinburgh Christmas Carol, The Royal Lyceum Theatre, runs until January 4