Hard Times but with humour at The Lowry

David Upton

Deborah McAndrew's witty take on the great Northern novel of repression and longing—Charles Dickens’s Hard Times—is coming to The Lowry in Salford from March 6 to 10.

Dark satanic mills, interrupted by the colour and vibrancy of Sleary’s Circus, set the stage for a sweeping tale of suppressed love, seduction and social mores, peopled with the sharply-observed exaggerated characters for which Dickens is celebrated.

McAndrew said about adapting the classic tale, “I’ve always admired Hard Times—Dickens's one truly Northern novel. The title is a bit off-putting, giving the impression of a story that is relentlessly grim. However, it's full of all the usual brilliant Dickens characters and lots of very good jokes. It's also a life-affirming story and a manifesto against a dry, utilitarian approach to education and human discourse in general."

Audiences will meet the characters below a big top where the flames of a circus fire-eater become the flaming coals of the inscrutable young Louise Gradgrind as she stares into the fire, searching for something within herself.