Callow Acts It Up One-Man Dickens ShowDate: 17 April 2000
Simon Callow gets back to his acting roots this month when he plays another great British writer in a one-man play. The Mystery of Charles Dickens, written by acclaimed Dickens biographer Peter Ackroyd, opens on 26 April at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking before touring until 22 July 2000 to another 11 regional theatres.
It follows Callow's previous one-man play, The Importance of Being Oscar, a celebration of Oscar Wilde, which he performed at the West End's Savoy Theatre in 1997. The same creative team that brought Oscar to the stage returns for Dickens, including director Patrick Garland, designer Christopher Woods and lighting designer Nick Richings.
Callow's other recent theatre acting credits include The Chimes at Midnight, also directed by Garland, at Chichester Festival Theatre. More recently, he was involved backstage in producing and directing the widely panned revival of the 1950s American musical, The Pajama Game, starring Leslie Ash and John Hegley in the West End.
The Mystery of Charles Dickens is Peter Ackroyd's first play for the theatre, though he is already a best-selling novelist and biographer. It gives an insight into the Victorian life and times of Dickens, interweaving his own turbulent story with some of his most memorable fictional characters from Mr Micawber to Mrs Gamp, Bill Sykes to Miss Havisham.
The production is presented on tour by the Ambassador Theatre Group, Pre-Eminence and ACT Productions. After Woking, it continues to Richmond, Bath, Brighton, Cheltenham, Bromley, Oxford, Cardiff, Plymouth, Milton Keynes, Stoke on Trent and Manchester.