It had been a while since I had visited the theatre so I was particularly looking forward to an amusing Sunday evening at Theatre Severn.
And while I wasn’t disappointed, I didn’t laugh quite as much as I expected to – more a smile every so often.
The show is certainly fast-paced and action-packed but the one thing that grated on me was the American accent of the cast, who bill themselves as the “biggest Dickens tribute band in Santa Cruz”.
It felt contrived, rather than amusing, to hear Dickens being played, by Matt Bateman, in a voice that clearly wouldn’t have been his.
But the cast did perform brilliantly and it must have been exhausting for them as they are constantly changing costume, character, instruments and scenes in 90 minutes. Matthew Hendrickson was particularly entertaining and did make me laugh out loud but Martin Sarreal perhaps overacted in a show which is already exuberant.
We experienced some of Dickens’ best known works only briefly with Bleak House in about 30 seconds and Little Dorrit in even less but they were very cleverly summarised in song.
I would have liked to have seen more from Great Expectations but only because it happens to be my favourite Dickens’ novel.
The guillotine scene in A Tale of Two Cities was perhaps the most amusing and A Christmas Carol gave the show a lovely festive feel for this time of year. It’s always fun to be reminded of Scrooge’s ghosts in December.
Dickens Abridged also delves into the bizarre-but-true story of Dickens’ own life, including his complicated romantic entanglements – and these are amusingly portrayed by several of the actors wearing an array of women’s clothes.
Definitely worth a watch- even if just to be impressed by the sheer energy of the cast.
For more information about the show, see www.dickensabridged.com
To see what else is on at Theatre Severn, see www.theatresevern.co.uk