Review: The Muppet Christmas Carol In Concert
Disney’s The Muppet Christmas Carol has to be one of my favourite Christmas movies.
Nostalgia, a modern twist on a classic, feel good factor - whatever the reason, it’s another of those Christmas movies I never get tired of watching.
I do remember seeing it for the first time at the cinema when it was newly released. I was 18 and already trying to recapture my youth. The film came on and - bang - it felt like Christmas. I’ve probably seen it every year since, and have it on DVD, but when I saw it was playing at The Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham, presented live in concert, featuring the film’s musical score, I knew it was something I wanted to experience.
Having seen Love Actually in concert a couple of days before at the same venue, this time I had an idea of how it would be. The Novello Orchestra are seated on stage with the screen above them and play the score along to the film.
Conductor, David Mahoney, spoke to welcome us and give a brief intro to the film, encouraging us to sing along. The audience were in fine Christmas spirit, and really didn’t take much encouragement. Whooping and applause accompanied the opening bars to the movie as a large image of Kermit the Frog's face appears on screen.
The difference between The Muppets Christmas Carol and Love Actually is that the first is a musical, whereas Love Actually is a Rom Com. Sure it has a score and a soundtrack, but not actual musical numbers whereas the latter does, so there were more defined performances from the orchestra to which the audience applauded after each one.
The original score was composed by Miles Goodman (“Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” “Little Shop of Horrors”) with songs by Oscar®, Emmy® and Grammy®-winning songwriter Paul Williams (“Rainbow Connection,” “Evergreen”)and has some memorable numbers such as Sleeps til Christmas and Feels like Christmas.
The film was the fourth feature film to star the Muppets, and the first produced after the death of Muppets creator Jim Henson. Released in 1992, it was one of many film adaptations of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Gonzo, narrates the story as Dickens, with the assistance of Rizzo the Rat. Michael Caine plays Ebenezer Scrooge, with Muppets taking the rest of the parts — including Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit, Miss Piggy as Emily Cratchit, Robin the Frog as Tiny Tim, and Fozzie Bear as Fozziwig.
Although artistic licence is taken to suit the aesthetic of the Muppets, The Muppet Christmas Carol otherwise follows Dickens's original story closely. Some say more closely than many adaptations and was the first Muppets film to be produced by Walt Disney Pictures.
Whilst at the odd time the orchestra were a little louder than the dialogue (same thing happened with Love Actually), their inclusion made an old but classic film more of an occasion or event, and was definitely enjoyed by the audience, who the majority of which were adults like myself.
It certainly brought a bit of Christmas magic back into my life tonight.
*My tickets were gifted but my views are my own