As George Osborne ponders on the UK's troubled economy he might well consider seeking a little light relief at 'Scrooge'. It does, after all, feature an anti-hero who extols profit and sneers at the benefit-scrounging poor.
Pacing across the Palladium stage more than 40 years after he first debuted here as Dick Whittington, Tommy Steele looks thoroughly at ease as cartoonish misanthrope Ebeneezer Scrooge. Those teeth look far too white and shiny for a Dickens character, but who cares? This is musical-land, where dazzling dentistry and tales of redemption always go together.
If you're the kind who yens after 'War Horse', then this is almost certainly not your type of evening. But if you're looking for a strong formula musical complete with anodyne songs and a little (but not too much) substance then this slickly executed package might be just what you need.
The ghosts are not too scary, so small children shouldn't have nightmares, and there are some enjoyably engineered illusions, starting with the fateful appearance of Jacob Marley's face on the door knocker. Steele is ably abetted by Edward Handoll's sparky Bob Cratchitt, and the unashamedly hammy performance of James Head's Ghost of Christmas Present.
It is, of course, Dickens stripped down to the basics, and in his bicentenary year there are many more meaty ways of celebrating him. But as comfortable Christmas fayre, 'Scrooge – The Musical' does what it says on the tin.
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