WHILE Skipton’s Plaza will remain closed for at least two more weeks, the end of lockdown marks the reopening of cinemas across North Yorkshire - few and far between though they might be.

Welcoming their return is a rather unique take on an oft told tale. Indeed, if any published work were to take the crown of most frequent to be adapted to screen, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol must be it. And yet, rarely has the story of Ebenezer Scrooge been portrayed with such creative vigour as it is here. The Muppets excepted.

Sister-brother duo Jacqui and David Morris direct 2020’s A Christmas Carol, which boasts an all-star cast. Eye catching names from Carey Mulligan and Martin Freeman to Daniel Kaluuya and Andy Serkis should draw a crowd but, be warned, they’re nowhere to be seen.

No, this Carol is no animation. Instead, the Morris siblings deploy their A-list voices over dazzling, theatrically driven visuals.

We begin with a Victorian family. The children are on the eve of their annual performance of A Christmas Carol. This will take place in a toy theatre full of figures and sets just waiting to be brought to life.

The film’s producers might cite early cinema as their inspiration but it is the Royal Ballet’s take that pirouettes to mind. Here, the vocal chords of Britain’s most recognisable cinematic voices serve as metaphorical marionette strings to dancers of incredible dexterity.

It must be said that the effect of viewing the unison of narrative and dance in this way is, at first, disorienting. Some may never take to it. As an experiment in art, however, this Carol truly sings. Against myriad of paper backdrops - exquisitely designed by Darko Petrovic and David Kharaishvili - powerful performers inject new life into the old and impress on every level. To say the film is immersive goes only so far to do it justice.

Further to the film’s creative efforts, the Morris siblings promise their offering as a Christmas gift for struggling theatres across the United Kingdom. In Jacqui Morris’ own words: ‘ I know lots of films are delaying their release, but we are in the fortunate position of having made a perennial film, and as theatres and cinemas are in such dire straits at the moment, we want to be as supportive as we can.’ Bravo to that!