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review Dickens Abridged at Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama I'll admit it's been a while since I read Charles Dickens and I'd forgotten how surreal his work can be. Spontaneous human combustion, identical twins swapping places in prison, ghosts, debt, murder, families dying all over the place and men marrying the wrong women. All this is ripe for comedy, whatever the underlying social messages our classic 19th century author also relayed.

Adam Long's Dickens Abridged is a high speed, high voltage, hilarious whistle stop tour of the great writer's novels.

All you ever wanted to know about the plots, but never quite managed to get to the end to find out, is explained in a glorious medley of music, songs and comic theatre, helped along by screen visuals, a marvellously realistic guillotine, a glove puppet dog and a scooter, among other things.

The comic Turning its hand to Dickens the team that brought us Reduced Shakespeare has triumphed again looking at the novelist's life and works. After a grim early life as a child factory worker Dickens had an unhappy marriage, 10 children, a liaison with an actress and died from a stroke aged 58 after revelling in performing a bludgeoning scene on the West End stage.

timing of all 'four is as sleek as it gets and All this history is delivered at speed, with never ending humour and warmth despite a few digs at the great man's eccentricities.

they weren't shy of using props to add to the fun Matt Bateman, Andrew Gallo, Martin Sarriel and Matthew Hendrickson take on all the characters with stand out performances from Bateman as Dickens and Sarreal as his wife Agnes. The comic timing of all four is as sleek as it gets and they weren't shy of using props to add to the fun.

My favourite is the upturned flying V electric guitar standing in as Tiny Tim's crutch before Sarreal hits the strings to celebrate Scrooge's change of character.

Members of the audience familiar with The Muppets' Christmas Carol were laughing out loud with the cast when Andrew Gallo slipped into Kermit-speak as Scrooge's underpaid clerk, Bob Cratchit.

Dickens Abridged is 90 minutes of pure laughter leaving you knowing a bit more about one of the classic writers of Engish literature.

Abbie Wightwick

Shakespeare has triumphed again The comic timing of all four is as sleek as it gets and they weren't shy of using props to add to the fun '

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Nov 20, 2015
Words:412
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