I am extremely cross with the entire cast of Scrooge. They’ve got me all excited for Christmas and there are still 23 days before it’s even December! What am I supposed to do with myself until then?

It’s been an exciting year for Charles Dickens fans like myself, 2012 being his bicentenary – two hundred years ago in February the author was born. He went on to become one of the biggest influences on how we celebrate Christmas today. I must admit the 1970’s Albert Finney film, on which this stage musical is based, is played every year in my household and I was eager to see how my favourite numbers ‘December the 25th‘, ‘I Like Life’ and ‘Thank You Very Much’ would transfer to the stage. But what I especially enjoyed was how the adaptation from screen to stage transformed scenes such as the parlour game ‘The Minister’s Cat’ at Scrooge’s nephew’s Christmas party, into new musical numbers.

The performances were flawless all round, though of course the name on everyone’s lips last night was Tommy Steele, who reprised the title role. It is a pleasure to watch someone perform when they so obviously love their art, as this man does. After wracking my brain, the only possible criticism I could come up with was that making Scrooge a cockney is slightly contradictory. However,  allowances can be made for the veteran of the London Palladium who turns 76 next month – something which seems almost unbelievable as you watch his performance, his comic timing is spot on and he sings all his numbers with a powerful voice, in particular the epiphanic ‘I’ll Begin Again’ in Act Two.

Steele best portrays the reformed, generous Scrooge at the end of the show and the silly Scrooge who is frightened of the Ghosts – he doesn’t quite manage to convince as the grumpy, nasty man of the beginning, which he plays tongue-in-cheek rather than straight.

The chorus was lively and all in possession of wonderful singing voices – the opening number ‘Sing a Christmas Carol’ sends a yuletide shiver of delight down the spine. The special effects were seamless and left me scratching my head as to how half of them were done and I must congratulate the show’s illusionist Paul Kieve for his clever trickery.

I would recommend Scrooge as a heart-warming show for all the family, though little ones might find the ghost scenes a bit frightening – at least they made me jump! The perfect outing for Christmas and to cap off Dickens’s special year.

Scrooge is playing at the London Palladium until 12 January 2013. For more information and tickets please see the London Palladium website.