Miriam Margolyes - Dickens' Women
Appealing biographical show in the company of a true pro
This article is from 2012.
Yelling with that unmistakeable voice and accompanied by the oh-so-refined tinkly piano of Benjamin Lee, Miriam Margolyes staggers onto the stage in the person of sozzled layer-out of the dead Mrs Gamp, from Martin Chuzzlewit.
It’s a charming, gentle comic turn, ending as Gamp nods off into snores on the pillow meant for her latest charge before Margolyes springs up with a liveliness that belies her 71 years and passionately sets out her lifelong admiration for Dickens. The show that follows is a more-or-less chronological biography of Dickens, interspersed with dramatic extracts portraying the characters that his real-life encounters with femininity inspired.
If it’s a little too lecturing at times, Margolyes’ presentation is good-humoured and engaging, as well as balanced: she has no delusions about Dickens’ chauvinism and expresses amusing distaste for his ‘icky’ teenage heroines. It would be nice, instead of the polished factual declamation, to see a little more of the twinkle in Margolyes’ eye, but nevertheless this is an appealing 90 minutes in the company of a true pro.
Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 25 Aug (not 21), 2.30pm, £16--£17.50 (£14--£15.50).