Adam Long’s Dickens Abridged

Adam Long

Newbury Productions

Pleasance Courtyard

From 05 August 2015 to 31 August 2015

Rating: ****

Review by Philip Fisher

Adam Long was one of the founders of Reduced Shakespeare and continually manages to come up with alternative shows based on the same formula.

For 2015, he applies the magic to the life and works of Charles Dickens.

70 minutes fly by and, unusually, there is a good deal of biographical information delivered in the trademark comic style by an expanded cast that is now four-strong.

Dickens himself is shorter, fatter, Americaner and gingerer than traditional British propaganda has led us to expect but his history is familiar.

This is interspersed with renditions of the novels in a variety of styles. At one end of the scale, Bleak House and The Old Curiosity Shop are delivered in songs that between them last under half a minute. Barnaby Rudge, amongst others doesn’t make it at all.

Favourites such as Oliver Twist and David Copperfield are given more considered treatments with laughter never far away.

The highlights though are A Christmas Carol, which is used to end the performance on a high and, more surprisingly, A Tale of Two Cities. The great novel of the French Revolution may not seem obvious material for comedy but in Mr Long's hands brings the house down.