This a fantastic and innovative way to introduce children into the exciting world of Charles Dickens and Victorian England. A Little Bit of Dickens endeavours to bring many of Dickens’ fascinating characters to life. The audience were greeted by Leona O’Sullivan, playing a schoolteacher, and were handed a ‘test’ on arrival to the theatre. Immediately, the children began to ask their parents, ‘Who was Charles Dickens?’, the first question in the ‘test’. Not to fear though, the cast were on hand to answer all the questions presented.
Situating actors within the auditorium surprised and excited the audience greatly, with David O’Connor, playing Charles Dickens, engendering a shriek from an unsuspecting audience member when he sprung out of his seat. This is where the journey begins, following a naughty schoolboy Charlie, sublimely portrayed by Scott Oswald, as he flips a magical coin transporting him back in time to 1845, Victorian England. Laughter was heard from the adult members of the audience as Charlie ranted about having ‘the worst life ever’, a common grumble amongst some of today’s teenagers. Whilst wandering through the cobbled streets of London, Charlie encounters some of Dickens’ well-known characters: Dodger from Oliver Twist, Gradgrind from Hard Times, Pip from Great Expectations and many more. In a bid to find his way home, Charlie requires the help of friends he makes along his journey, but not before he experiences the dismal life and horrendous working conditions of Victorian London.
With vivid details of the effects of cholera, descriptions of the muggy London atmosphere and an insight into the life of a pickpocket, this educative show brings to life all aspects of Victorian life in an enthusiastic manner that promises to excite. The key for audience engagement at children shows seems to be audience participation, something this show certainly delivers. Filled with catchy songs with simple lyrics and amusing dance routines, A Little Bit of Dickens ensures learning is done in style.