simon callow carolMERRY CHRISTMAS! Balladeer’s Blog’s Christmas Carol-a-Thon 2022 comes to a close with this look at Simon Callow’s one man show A Christmas Carol. Under Tom Cairns’ direction, Callow’s lauded performance, this time taking place in an abandoned warehouse, gets just enough goosing from smoke, sound effects, fake snow and other enhancements to justify capturing it on film.

Callow even lights a fire at one point and in another portion warms his hands over a lit candle, Bob Cratchit style. The only score consists of ambient electronic music from Ben and Max Ringham.   

Simon Callow has surpassed Patrick Stewart’s old one-man performance of the Carol in recent decades and he even portrayed Charles Dickens himself doing a public reading of A Christmas Carol in a Doctor Who special in 2005. Like Patrick Stewart, Callow uses Dickens’ old prompt copy for public readings as his launching point but acts out each character in a far more impressive manner than Stewart ever did.

Simon Callow makes Patrick Stewart look like a smarmy ham and has become my new top one-man show adaptation of the Carol. I was impressed with how thoroughly Callow blows away Patrick’s stage show in virtually every way. His Fezziwig alone eclipses anything that Stewart managed in his now pale-looking performance.

callow carolThe only downside is that, at a mere 72 minutes, Callow’s rendition leaves out a few bits that are probably some people’s favorite moments from A Christmas Carol. It’s sad but unavoidable. The only way to get every single word from Dickens’ original novel would be through an audiobook, and Simon Callow is one of the many people who has done such a book on tape. 

But rest assured, Ignorance and Want do make an appearance, always a sure sign that the creative team understands A Christmas Carol

Director Tom Cairns has the camera moving a great deal during Callow’s performance here, maximizing the possibilities and avoiding too much of a similarity to other one-man versions of A Christmas Carol. Some have criticized Simon Callow for not going full cosplay for this film, but I did not find it distracting.

At any rate, this filmed adaptation of the Carol had a one-night only theatrical release on December 11th, 2018, before airing on the BBC. It’s a moving and very intimate experience for the whole family.

Well, that wraps up another Christmas Carol-a-Thon! Be here the Friday after Thanksgiving, when the 2023 edition kicks off! 




26 responses to “SIMON CALLOW: A CHRISTMAS CAROL (2018)

  1. Beautiful article! Wishing you a happy Christmas! ☺️☺️☺️

  2. Interesting! I had not heard of this one! Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s