What The Dickens?

Dickensian romp starring Charles as a reporter, with sleuthing, skulduggery and sparkling Christmas spirit.
Pegasus Theatre, Fri November 30th - Sun December 30th 2012

December 3, 2012
The culmination of Pegasus 50th birthday celebrations began with a Gala Evening showcasing young acting talent, cake cutting  and a first performance of  Pegasus’ Christmas show by theatre company Gonzo Moose.

Sparkling among Christmas lights was the Tallest Midget (Amber Webber), the Workhouse Assistant (Mason Thomas-Downes) and Lady Ponsonby-Smythe (Anusha Abbas), while Jack Rayment’s Music Hall MC kept time. The cake was cut by Phil Selway of Radiohead.

Rose Kigwana from the Arts Council, reminded the audience of Pegasus’ compelling claim to ongoing funding, despite the Government’s  impending Spending Review. Everyone cheered Pegasus CEO Euton Daley’s recent MBE.

The main part of the evening was a preview of What the Dickens?, which is at Pegasus for a month. It’s a seasonal gem which cannot fail to excite even Scrooge’s Christmas spirit.

Gonzo Moose’s blend of visual comedy, dramatic storytelling and physical theatre was a riotous fizz of fun. The set, designed by Mandy Dike is exquisitely realized, and brilliantly utilized by the three-actor cast. Under Abigail Anderson’s direction, a cavalcade of characters crouched, swaggered, sang and danced around this two-part, swivelling marvel of design, opening hidden windows and doors, leading us through foggy London, the mist rising as the mystery deepened.

In pursuit of the truth is intrepid cub reporter Charles Dickens of the Morning Chronicle. Rapped by his editor for departing from the unadorned facts with literary embellishment, Dickens endures assault and battery, followed rapidly by charm - and offense. Brave and foolhardy, his head for heights is severely tested. Yet true to his reporter’s brief, he never loses the scent of skullduggery.

Mark Conway’s Dickens is a Chaplinesque innocent abroad, while Neil Haigh and Emily Murphy provide a world which bristles with invention, wit, and comic timing. Childrens’ laughter raised the roof. So did adults’.

Catch a flying horse for a ticket.

It's rare to see a play that gets better exponentially, as this one does. I spent the first 20 minutes struggling to understand what I was watching – what appeared to be a non-traditional pantomime involving Charles Dickens as Norman Wisdom. Although I was chuckling at Emily Murphy from the start, I was a little bewildered. That is until Dickens found himself in a library and the play got darker, funnier and suddenly much cleverer than I'd originally assumed. It was an engrossing thrill to watch, with excellent performances from the three cast members and I loved it. Buy a programme - you'll want to remember this company.

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