23
Mar
12

Dickens’ Women

Dickens’ Women

AMcK Fine Entertainment

QPAC Playhouse

Featuring Miriam Margoyles

Directed by Sonia Fraser

Reviewed by Michelle Bull

 

‘A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other 

Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens

Tonight, I met some wonderful individuals that made me giggle and then in the next breath come close to tears. Tonight I was surprised, enthralled and captivated by both fascinating and fickle stories. I eavesdropped on conversations that transported me into another era. Tonight, the delightfully engaging Miriam Margolyes introduced me to Dickens’ Women.

 

 

Presented by AMcK Fine Entertainment, and written by Miriam Margolyes and Sonia Fraser (Director), Dickens Women draws from classics such as Nicholas Nickleby, Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, Little Dorrit, Bleak House and Great Expectations, combining sensitive insight into the life of Dickens himself, with a thoroughly entertaining exploration of his most colourful literary personalities.

 

 

Elegantly accompanied by John Martin on piano, this is an intimate conversation in which Margolyes shares her inherent fascination and love for the work of Charles Dickens, in a way that reveals the unavoidable humanity of the literary great and that of his celebrated characters.

The set itself is minimalistic, and effectively so. Reflecting the cosy ambiance of a period drawing room (complete with a portrait of Charles Dickens himself), the simple design is functional and not without its own story, Margolyes telling the story of Dickens favoured reading desk, a replica of which is used throughout the show. Different levels of staging and creative lighting design (Mark Hammer) are also used to effectively create a sense of intimacy and adaptability that suits the ever-changing environment of the show.

Margolyes embodiment of each character is compelling. Brought to life through a combination of skilful characterisation and infectious storytelling, Margolyes is careful not to alienate those of us who may not know each of Dickens’ characters as intimately as she. Each is seamlessly introduced to the audience, just as one would introduce one friend to another, biography and storytelling going hand in hand as parallels between the characters and Dickens’ own relationships are revealed, with no apologies for the often shocking and chauvinistic caricatures of Dickens’ imagination!

Margolyes management of Dickens’ text is beautiful and evident of a true respect for the contours and nuances of the English language. I found myself at times luxuriating in the sheer poetry of the words themselves. Her eloquent and stylish delivery creates a believable portrayal of each individual, her voice and physicality taking on each character in comprehensive detail. The transformation is instantaneous, as she expertly switches between a young flippish seventeen year old girl (Little Nell) to that of a stately matron (Mrs Jarley), (Old Curiosity Shop). Her portrayal of the delightful interaction between Mr Bumble and Mrs Corney (Oliver Twist), is hilarious, her physicality and comic timing making this particular scene one of my personal favourites!

The show is not without its sombre moments and it’s within these that Margolyes performs with a sense of poise and stillness that is captivating to watch. Her portrayal of both the tormented Miss Wade (Little Dorrit) and the dottery Miss Flite (Bleak House) highlights the fragility and essential humanity of these characters. Heartbreakingly and honestly beautiful.

Miriam Margolyes is undoubtedly one of the finest character actors of her time and in her performance of Dickens’ Women, demonstrates her passion for Charles Dickens’ work. The show flows seamlessly from story to biography to character play, in turn giving a wonderful introduction to the life, women and works of a literary great. Dickens’ Women is a show that in it’s exploration of Dickens’ characters of yesterday, draws parallels with our lives today as it delves into a wonderful writer’s imagination and inspires all those who love a good story.

 

“They’re not just voices on their own. There’s a person inside there. You’ve got to get inside the person…”

 

Advertisements

0 Responses to “Dickens’ Women”



  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: