Review & Top Tips | Northern Stage Newcastle Christmas Show 2018

Disclosure: We purchased our own tickets at a discounted press rate. Photo Credits : Pamela Raith 

Review & Top Tips | Northern Stage Newcastle Christmas Show 2018 - A Christmas Carol

Northern Stage Christmas Show | Overview & tickets

The Christmas Show at Northern Stage is always something I really look forward to. It's completely different to anything else in the North East and is a fantastic alternative for those who aren't too keen on a traditional panto. The production is always magical with incredible staging and live music. I wasn't too keen on last year's show but think this was a one-off as we still talk about previous shows (with Get Santa being a particular favourite) to this day.


This year's show is A Christmas Carol and I love that it's a traditional Christmas story. I've watched this show on TV and at the cinema in various guises but never on stage. I had a feeling we'd be in for a treat. Tickets are very reasonably priced and available from just £10. The show continues until 5 January. I like the fact that at 1 hour 50 minutes, it's a little shorter than most pantos and not too long for younger kids (and not as late of a night). The show is recommended for ages 5+ but all are welcome.



Northern Stage Christmas Show | Where to park

We always park in Claremont Road Car Park by Exhibition Park. (Postcode NE2 4AN). We always manage to find a space and it's free after 6pm (£1.30 per hour before this). This car park is just a short walk from Northern Stage. Other car parks include Eldon Square (free after 5pm but closes at 10pm) and it's just a short walk from Haymarket bus and metro station if you wish to use public transport.

Northern Stage Christmas Show | Where to eat

Northern Stage has it's own on-site brasserie McKennas which looks lovely but is always super busy so I'd definitely recommend booking in advance. We often pop to Zapatista in Ridley Place for a super quick bite to eat (especially if we're travelling by bus) and Red Mezze is a gorgeous little restaurant to try near St James' Park. On this occasion, we had to skip dinner due to the school fayre and an early start time of 6pm. The kids were happy with popcorn and snacks from the bar (I highly recommend their caramel shortbread) and we popped to McDonalds on the way home.

Northern Stage Christmas Show | Our 2018 Review

Review & Top Tips | Northern Stage Newcastle Christmas Show 2018 - A Christmas Carol

If you've never watched a Northern Stage before, let me begin by saying that the staging is always like nothing you'll ever have seen before. It is so much more than a standard immersive experience and A Christmas Carol continues this tradition. Once again, the stage is in the centre of the room with the audience seated around all four sides. Ghosts whizz across the floor on beds, giant puppets tower above the audience, the band plays around the whole theatre, cast members will mix with the crowd and the audience is so close to the action that you almost feel as if you're sitting in Scrooge's bedroom with him. The theatrics are fantastic with lights appearing and disappearing, time standing still and then speeding forward and even a big gust of wind blowing through the stage. No other performance makes you feel like you're integral and part of the show as much as the Northern Stage Christmas show does.

Review & Top Tips | Northern Stage Newcastle Christmas Show 2018 - A Christmas Carol

There seems to have been a bit of a re-jig with the cast this year and some familiar faces were missing but I think this worked well and gave the performance a fresh feel to it. There were a couple of stand-out performances for me tonight. Rachel Dawson really wowed us as Jacob Marley and at times I honestly thought she'd been possessed. I told the kids I had her phone number in the programme and would call her to visit if they were too naughty (evil, I know). Marley's arrival with a team of zombie ghosts was imposing and really set the tone of the whole evening. Clara Darcy was equally as fantastic as The Ghost of Christmas Present. It is like she fully transformed into the ghost and I 100% believed it was a ghost dancing around the room rather than an actor.

The kids and Steve all really enjoyed The Ghost of Christmas Future which was a giant puppet which floated and towered above the whole room. You know it was good when no words were needed and we could all tell exactly what the ghost was trying to communicate.

I also thought Nick Figgis was an excellent Scrooge. We really felt his meanness shine through in the opening scenes and as an audience, it was lovely to feel his attitude change throughout the evening alongside him. It's as if we were on his journey with him.

Review & Top Tips | Northern Stage Newcastle Christmas Show 2018 - A Christmas Carol

As always, the music takes centre stage and I love that live music is used throughout. At one moment there could be a drum beating in the background, then in the next a trombone player may walk past you and then a cello may play next to the audience. It's incredible to feel and enjoy and certainly keeps the audience on their toes. I love, love, loved the songs too. I'm a self-confessed Christmas Carol fan and there was so much to enjoy - Carol of the Bells, Once in Royal David's City and In the Bleak Midwinter all make appearances alongside more upbeat numbers like We Wish You A Merry Christmas. After watching five pantos back-to-back, it made such a welcome break from songs from The Greatest Showman or the now dreaded baby shark (although weirdly there were still references to Fortnite and flossing - there's no escape!). It also snows on more than one occasion and with several Christmas party scenes and such a lovely message, you'll leave feeling very festive indeed.

Review & Top Tips | Northern Stage Newcastle Christmas Show 2018 - A Christmas Carol

What struck me about A Christmas Carol was that there was a much older audience in attendance than usual. Heidi asked where all of the children were and to be honest, I'm not really sure. It's recommended that this show is suitable for children aged 5 and over (although all or welcome) but in parts it can feel quite wordy (I am not overly familiar with the original Dicken's novel but it did feel true to the original text) and in parts it was a little scary. The ghosts do seem real and command both the stage and the audience's attention. Because of that, I'd probably recommend this one for over 8s. It's also not a particularly funny show when compared with previous years and the characters do seem a lot more mature. That being said, I watched the entire production with a smile on my face and kept glancing over at H, H and J to see their faces. They were hooked and hanging on every word spoken and although we've watched lots of shows in the past, for some reason this show specifically felt like a proper introduction into how moving and emotive theatre can be. It's a fast-paced performance and there was definitely no chance of boredom.  Harry, Heidi and Jack all really enjoyed it and it was a bit of an alternative night out for us and something a little different from the norm.

Review & Top Tips | Northern Stage Newcastle Christmas Show 2018 - A Christmas Carol

We had such a good night and A Christmas Carol is a wonderful tonic to the pantos out there. At the end of the performance, the packed-out audience couldn't get to their feet fast enough to give the hard-working cast a much-deserved standing ovation. I've never heard cheers and whoops from an audience quite like this evening and as we left the theatre there was such a buzz in the air as everyone exclaimed just how good it was. If you're a family with kids or teens who maybe feel like you've outgrown panto or want a reminder about what Christmas is really all about, I'd definitely try and catch this show if you can but be warned, you'll leave wanting to invite all of your friends and family around for Christmas dinner.

Review & Top Tips | Northern Stage Newcastle Christmas Show 2018 - A Christmas Carol



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