Middle Temple Hall (venue)
20 December 2022 (released)
28 December 2022
Stepping away from Fleet Street and through the arches of Middle Temple is a thrill in itself, especially at Christmas time. One of the four Inns of Court, and usually only enjoyed by the barristers who work there, the labyrinth of cobbled courtyards are easy to lose yourself in. But you know we’ve found Middle Temple Hall by the twinkling Christmas trees outside.
The best thing about Antic Dispositions traditional version of Dickens is undoubtedly the ensemble music and singing composed by Nick Barstow. Original and intriguing arrangements of famous Christmas carols form the backbone of the production with sharp lyrics by Ben Horslen and John Risebero.
Performing in Middle Temple Hall is both a blessing and a curse. It’s the real deal in terms of atmospheric venue, oak panelled walls dripping with portraits reaching up to vaulted ceiling and stained-glass windows. Not only was the first production of Twelfth Night famously performed here in 1602 but Dickens was a student of Law at Middle Temple in 1843, when he wrote a Christmas Carol. But the huge windows make it difficult to darken the stage in the first half of a matinee and the acoustic makes any naturalistic mumbles from Scrooge hard to decipher.
A Christmas Carol may be a story most of use first hear as children but as we grow older the challenge it sets to examine our own lives is striking. Dickens was a fierce advocate of the need for individuals to take responsibility for the public good, specifically the poor and Antic Dispositions intelligent production leaves you feeling not only warm and festive but reflective, with new resolutions for 2023.