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The Grand Theatre delivers true holiday magic


We love theatre in our house. We also love all things Christmas. So, it's no wonder we were all excited to have the chance to attend the opening-night performance of A Christmas Carol at The Grand Theatre in London, Ontario.

I can think of only two words to describe our experience: holiday magic!

OK, so I can think of more words. It would be a pretty boring blog post if I stopped there, no? But those two words were the first that came to mind when I sat down to write this review, so there you go. Anyway, let's get on with the task at hand, shall we?

From the moment the curtain went up to the moment the cast took their final bows, the theatre was filled with the sights, sounds, and magic that makes both a night at the theatre and the holiday season some of the things that make my heart sing.


(Patrick Monaghan as Jacob Marley and Ben Campbell as Scrooge in the Grand Theatre's production of A Christmas Carol. Photo credit: Claus Andersen.)

I don't want to give any spoilers away (because where's the magic in that?) but suffice it to say that when you settle into your seat for a showing of A Christmas Carol at the Grand, you are in for something truly special. The special effects will leave you picking your jaw up off the floor and the cast doesn't put a foot wrong the whole time, even when the choreography requires them to --- you didn't really think I was going to tell you, did you? I'm not. You'll have to see for yourself.

My 10-year-old daughter sat beside me for the show, and every few minutes I heard soft cries of , "Woah....that's so cool!" and "How did they do that?" She was absolutely entranced and, if I'm being really honest, so was I.


(Sean Arbuckle as Bob Cratchit and Benedict Campbell as Scrooge in the Grand Theatre's production of A Christmas Carol. Photo Credit: Claus Andersen)

The seamless integration of technology and good, old-fashioned theatre illusion made for the perfect backdrop for the storytelling and singing that unfolded before our eyes. In addition to the retelling of the classic Christmas tale, the singing of many time-honoured classic holiday songs added to the overall experience in a very special way. My favourite was the performance of "The 12 Days of Christmas." I couldn't help but sing along (apologies to those around me for that assault on your ears).

For me, the indisputable star of the show was Ben Campbell, taking centre stage as the curmudgeonly old Ebeneezer Scrooge. So perfectly does he bring that most famous of Charles Dickens' characters to life on the stage, it's as though DIckens had him in mind to play the part when he wrote the book in 1843.


(Ben Campbell as Scrooge in the Grand Theatre's production of A Christmas Carol. Photo credit: Claus Andersen)

Other stars of the show include Own Barteet as Tiny Tim (who will melt your heart when he delivers the famous line: "God bless us, every one!) Sean Arbuckle, who plays Scrooge's clerk, Bob Cratchit, and Aiden deSalaiz as Scrooge's nephew, Fred.


(Owen Barteet as Tiny Tim and Sean Arbuckle as Bob Cratchit in the Grand Theatre's production of A Christmas Carol. Photo credit: Claus Andersen)


(Aiden deSalaiz as Fred in the Grand Theatre's production of A Christmas Carol. Photo credit: Claus Andersen)

I'm a big believer in giving experiences, rather than material things, as gifts. Long after the toys and the "things" are forgotten about, the memories of time spent together, making memories, will be remembered. I know for sure that our night at The Grand Theatre will be something we'll be talking about as one of the best memories of the holiday season of 2017.


(Company in the Grand Theatre's production of A Christmas Carol. Photo credit: Claus Andersen.)

If you are in the London area (or anywhere within reasonable driving distance) I highly recommend you get tickets to see this wonderful show. Bring the whole family! (Note that young or more sensitive children may find some of the "ghostly" scenes a bit scary, but for the most part, it's a totally family-friendly show.) While you're at it, why not take advantage of what downtown London has to offer? Stroll through Victoria Park and look at the lights, browse the vendors at Covent Garden Market, or have dinner at one of the many wonderful restaurants on Richmond Row (Garlic's of London is a family favourite of ours, as it's next door to the theatre. Perfect!)


(Company in the Grand Theatre's production of A Christmas Carol. Photo credit: Claus Andersen.)

The Grand Theatre is located at 471 Richmond St. in London, Ontario. For tickets and more information, head to grandtheatre.com. Tickets are $29.95 to $88 (includes HST and CIF).

#Theatre #review #TheGrandTheatre #AChristmasCarol #Scrooge #CharlesDickens #Christmas2017

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