Thursday, June 28, 2012


Mad Dogs & Englishmen at the Civic Theatre
Jim Hutchon was in the Civic stalls ...

This production is a series of well-chosen and highly evocative snapshots of the rollercoaster rags to riches to rags to riches existence of David Copperfield – with a more than passing nod at its autobiographical seeds.

The insights into scenes and patches of narrative give full rein to Dickens' lyrical sense, and the two actors brought the few characters they chose to portray into full-on technicolor. I especially liked Ann Courtney’s 'umble and menacing Uriah Heep who ran a shiver down my spine. Equally clever was the exchange between Steerforth and his hapless love-rival Ham Peggotty, engineered to perfection by Stephan Drury with the assistance of a cane and a necktie.

The set was a simple but memorable arrangement of ropes and spars and worked well to give backgrounds to the many interiors of the production. And suitably morose music set the mood for the many ups and downs of the characters.

But I wouldn’t want any child to leave the theatre thinking this thing of glimpses and snatches has given them insight into the rich kaleidoscope of Copperfield – and even the director recommends they go home and read the book for the full experience.

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