When the invite to attend A Christmas Carol Brighton: The Immersive Dining Experience arrived, we were really excited to try out a completely brand new experience in the city. As a big Charles Dickens fan, I wondered how this play could be staged in a small pub in Brighton. I needn’t have been concerned, the Windmill pub is the perfect venue and helped add to the feeling that we had just accidentally stumbled into Ebenezer’s parlour. We were blown away by the lovely cosy, festive feel of the pub, big red velvet curtains made you feel like you had stepped into a Victorian parlour, with a red leather winged back chair the only clue as to the entertainment that was to follow. Marley, played by Lucy Farrett, introduced us to our challenge of the evening, to remind the bah-humbugging Scrooge about the true meaning of Christmas. Farrett was a superb choice for this role, all at once sharp witted, lively and welcoming, the perfect antidote to Dominic Allen’s surly, miserly Scrooge who embodied all the aspects of Charles Dicken’s infamous miser.

Photo of 2 cast members from A Christmas Carol immersive dining experience

Act one flew by, as we were all fully immersed in this heart-warming endeavour to warm Scrooge’s frozen heart. Witnessing his anguish at Christmas’s past, the regrets including the loss of his sweetheart and his journey to become the bitter man he now was, tugged at the heart strings, the redemptive nature of Christmas being his only hope to right the wrongs of the past, the audience were soon won over to accept our challenge for the evening, save Scrooge’s soul before it’s too late. With clever lighting and atmospheric sounds, we were transported, along with Scrooge to the scenes of the past, present and future. When the food arrived, I loved the way it was served with mains being presented with additional dishes on the side, this led to a family like feel to the dinner table and of course it was all absolutely delicious, this was not surprising given the menu was designed by Natalie Coleman, a MasterChef winner. Once pleasantly full after a beautiful pudding of festive Pavlova we returned to our job in hand, we started with parlour games.

Photo of a cast member from A Christmas Carol immersive dining experience

After dinner games got everyone involved and energised ready for Act Two, by this point the whole audience was taking their role in the production very seriously and as a mob we worked with Marley to entice Scrooge to the lighter side of life. I can honestly say this production was genuinely heart-warming, under Adam Flynn’s direction the performance was at once uplifting and poignant, leaving you no choice but to want to get involved. My favourite part had to be the singing; full of Christmas spirit we sang classics like Slade – Merry Christmas Everybody and my personal favourite The Pogues - A Fairy Tale of New York. This is the perfect festive night out for a group of friends (or even alone) you are sure to come away full of Christmas spirit and a tremendous meal.

A story synonymous with Christmas spirit, A Christmas Carol has been covered widely from the muppets to Bill Murray, there have been many versions of the tale of the irredeemable Ebenezer Scrooge but this performance goes further than just a show, it is a fully interactive piece of theatre where you also get to eat amazing food, play parlour games and have a festive sing-a-long – what’s not to love. I’d go as far as saying you’d need to have a scrooge loose to miss it!

  • December 3rd 2019 to December 29th 2019
    Tuesday – Sunday, 7.00pm 3.00pm matinees on Saturdays & Sundays 2.00pm matinee on Christmas Eve.
    The Windmill, Upper North Street, Brighton, BN1 3FL
    See: www.christmascarolbrighton.co.uk for further details.

Caroline

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