TV REVIEW: A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong ★★★★

A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong
Saturday 30th December 2017, BBC ONE

Following on from their disastrously brilliant take on Peter Pan last year, the Cornley Polytechinc Drama Society are back once again to give the Dicken’s classic, A Christmas Carol, its ‘Goes Wrong’ treatment, even if they have been banned by the BBC. In real life, Mischief Theatre are showing no signs of stopping with this second annual coverage on the BBC Christmas schedule, with currently three West End shows, (A Play that Goes Wrong, A Comedy about a Bank Robbery, and Mischief Movie Night), with A Play also smashing it on Broadway as well as embarking on its second UK tour whilst Bank Robbery is also gearing up for its UK tour to start in mid 2018.

Unlike last years outing, the introductions have been scrapped and A Christmas Carol begins more like a heist movie, with lead actor Derek Jacobi, who in real life is a huge Mischief Theatre fan after taking Dame Maggie Smith to see A Play that Goes Wrong, escorted off the premises whilst the Cornley Am Dram group take their places to restart the show, and just like last year, our favourite characters are back. Since we last saw them, Sandra (Charlie Russell) and Max (Dave Hearn) are now in a relationship, whilst Chris (Henry Shields, co-creator and writer of Christmas Carol) takes centre stage as Scrooge, but as the performance progresses and footage from a Cornley party accidentally plays throughout the green screen scenes, Chris starts to become the real life Scrooge in the eyes of his cast members as footage of him back-chatting his friends after scoring an agent leaves him unpopular for the rest of the show.

It is from this initial green screen moment where the real fun starts to happen in this broadcast, as Dickens’ creations take hold of the cornley players as Robert (Henry Lewis), who wanted to play Scrooge to begin with, gets stuck with ‘The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come’ in what is undoubtedly the funniest entrance and moment in this 50 minute outing, which also brings a mix of cameos from other current Mischief members plus Diana Rigg, who takes on the role of Sandra’s Aunt.

Overall, A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong, though not as laugh-a-minute to last years outing, still manages to deliver a stellar piece of television comedy, and here's hoping that a full series, like also wished for from the creators, is soon in talks, because in times like now in the world, we all need a little bit of Mischief in our lives!


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