Dickens Abridged - Arts Theatre
Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle
THIS Christmas, actors from West End shows as diverse as Merrily We Roll Along, Avenue Q, Les Misérables, Spamalot and Reduced Shakespeare will join forces in Dickens Abridged.
A fast-paced musical comedy from the co-creator of The Complete Works of Shakespeare (abridged), it runs at the Arts Theatre for a limited season – from December 2, 2013 (previews from November 27) to January 5, 2014.
Described as a high-speed comic sprint through Dickens’ greatest hits, Dickens Abridged brings hundreds of the author’s best-loved characters to life in 90-minutes of madcap Dickensian mayhem.
From Great Expectations complete with flaming bride, to A Christmas Carol in which Tiny Tim rocks the house with a soaring electric guitar solo, Dickens Abridged will take audiences on a hilarious ride through the thrills and spills of some of Dickens’ greatest works including David Copperfield, Bleak House, A Tale of Two Cities, Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby.
Dickens Abridged also reveals some fascinating and bizarre-but-true stories from Charles Dickens’ own life, including his complicated romantic entanglements, and his inexplicable enthusiasm for performing the bludgeoning scene from Oliver Twist, over and over and over again.
Dickens Abridged is written and directed by Adam Long, who was a founding member of the Reduced Shakespeare Company. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), which he directed and co-wrote, ran in the West End for nine years and was nominated for an Olivier Award. It also enjoyed two Off-Broadway seasons as well as successful tours all over the world.
His other stage work includes The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged) and The Complete History of America (abridged) for the Reduced Shakespeare Company and Deconstructing Albert at the Sheffield Crucible Theatre. His television work includes History on Toast and Last Minute Book Reports for the Disney Channel, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) for PBS, Trigger Happy TV for Channel Four and Star Wars Shortened for LucasFilm/BSkyB.
Dickens Abridged is co-created by Alex Jackson-Long, whose many credits as a television producer include The Kumars at No. 42, Armstrong & Miller, Trigger Happy TV, Fonejacker and The Lenny Henry Show. His work as a film producer includes The Barn (winner of a British Independent Film Award) and the BAFTA-nominated short film Skin & Blister starring Fiona Shaw. His theatre credits include casting director for The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) at the Criterion Theatre and associate producer of Alan Cumming’s one-man show, I Bought a Blue Car Today, at the Vaudeville Theatre.
The cast includes Damian Humbley, Jon Robyns, Kit Orton, Gerard Carey and Matthew Hendrickson.
Damian Humbley (Charles Dickens) was most recently seen as Charley Kringas in Merrily We Roll Along at the Menier Chocolate Factory and Harold Pinter Theatre. His other recent credits include Harry in Company (Sheffield Crucible), Lend Me A Tenor (Gielgud Theatre), Shoes (Peacock Theatre), Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors (UK tour) and Jamie in the UK premiere of The Last Five Years (Menier Chocolate Factory).
Jon Robyns (Fagin, Scrooge and many other characters) is currently playing Sir Galahad in Spamalot at the Playhouse Theatre. His other recent credits include Hollis Bessemer in Road Show (Menier Chocolate Factory), Enjolras in the 25th Anniversary Production of Les Misérables, Marius in Les Misérables (Queen’s Theatre) and Princeton/Rod in the original cast of Avenue Q (Noel Coward Theatre).
Kit Orton (Miss Havisham, David Copperfield and many others) is currently appearing alongside Robyns as Sir Lancelot in Spamalot. His other recent credits include The Hired Man (Leicester Curve) and Arabian Nights, Spend Spend Spend and Martin Guerre, (all at the Watermill Theatre, Newbury).
Gerard Carey (Tiny Tim, Oliver Twist and others) has appeared in Soho Cinders and Ex (Soho Theatre), Master Class (Vaudeville Theatre), The Invisible Man (Menier Chocolate Factory), as Prince Herbert in Spamalot (Palace Theatre), as Robertson Ay in the original cast of Mary Poppins (Prince Edward Theatre) and The Taming Of The Shrew, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Two Gentlemen Of Verona and High Society (Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park).
Matthew Hendrickson (Mr. Micawber, The Ghost of Christmas Present and others) has appeared in the West End productions of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) and The Complete History of America (abridged) at the Criterion Theatre. His other recent credits include Feathers in the Snow (Southwark Playhouse) and The Full Monty (English Theatre, Frankfurt).
Tickets: £20 – £39.50 (previews all tickets £20) – available from the box office on 020 7836 8463 or online at www.artstheatrewestend.co.uk/.
Times: Tuesday to Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 6pm (except Tuesday, December 3 and Sunday, December 8). Matinees – Thursdays and Saturdays at 4pm (except Thursday, November 28 and Saturday, November 30). Christmas Matinees – Tuesday, December 24, Friday, December 27, Tuesday, December 31 and Friday, January 3 at 4pm.