I’ll try not to crack ‘What the Dickens?’ jokes, but this show left me feeling like a slug on tranquilizers. It was just so fast. This ‘dash’ through Dickens shouldn’t have come as a surprise. The actors could have been on speed, my eyes and brain were in top gear trying to keep up with the blur of arms, legs and top hats on stage.
The actors were very well co-ordinated; I imagine that they must have dreamed about Dickens for months before the show.
Staged by the Take Away Theatre Company, this family show was put together so that children and adults alike could take away some laughs. The comedy was a mix between the Muppets, Denis the Menace, and… well, the world of Dickens. The actors wore ridiculous jiggling wigs, fringes obscuring faces. They bombastically bounced around the stage having mock fisty-cuffs and prima donna outbursts. The actors skillfully took turns playing Dickens himself. With a swift swap of a hat and cane, actors female, male, tall and short magically became Dickens. It somehow worked.
The actors were very well co-ordinated; I imagine that they must have dreamed about Dickens for months before the show. David seemed at ease with Jennifer and Hazel, who were so in sync I took them for sisters. Although it turns out they aren’t sisters, my impression fitted nicely with the story of Dickens’ questionable involvement with his wife’s sibling…
Whilst the ever-transforming Dickens managed not to be too mind-boggling, the torrent of information was. The Take Away Theatre Company really wanted us ingest a full biography of Dickens life, but it wasn’t what I had ordered. I only wanted a Tiny Tim-sized portion. While much of the show was verily Victorian fun, it left me feeling not only like a slug, but like my brain was a useless sieve. As long as you go into the show expecting to forget most of the names and dates, you can avoid the schoolroom nostalgia. Otherwise, take a notebook.