You can read 19 more articles this month
Wilton’s Music Hall, London
SKETCHING, an ambitious take on Sketches by Boz, employs James Graham in collaboration with eight emerging writers to create a collage of London today in Dickensian style.
Four of the interwoven tales provide a fantastical plot, while the others add colour with a range of largely forgotten citizens moving on with their lives.
The episodic nature of the performance, mainly populated with caricatures, is enhanced by Elliot Griggs’s cartoon-style projections of the capital’s buildings and the atmospheric surroundings of Wilton’s Music Hall.
Director Thomas Hescott utilises his cast of five to create some 50 characters, from a failed Scottish drag artist and stage-door hands on strike to a pawn-shop pimp and a South Kensington squatter, self-reinvented as an installation artist.
The actors switch between contrasting roles on a multi-level, rough-hewn stage, with Samuel James creating many of the larger-than-life, in-your-face characters, while Penny Layden’s lost and lonely roles are softer, more sympathetic creations.
The sharpest dialogue and the scenes with the most dramatic tension are Graham’s work and they are also the most naturalistic. Sean Michael Verey’s speechwriter and Sophie Wu’s teacher provide sitcom-style performances as estranged partners meeting up to conclude affairs, only to be faced with a twist worthy of Dickens.
An exciting and largely engaging production, it's occasionally overwhelmed by the scale of the challenge. Dickens's 56 sketches detailing early Victorian life with both pathos and humour are vignettes that define an historic London through its detail.
But this production fails to capture an essence of a nine-million-strong, cosmopolitan capital, so frequently depicted on page and screen, and it struggles to unite the styles and substance of the different writers.
Runs until October 27, box office: wiltons.org.uk.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.