According to promotional material, Dickens Unplugged presents the life and works of Charles Dickens as never seen before: fast, furious and in five-part harmony. Audiences are given a light-hearted insight into an incredible man: from his bleak childhood to his complicated marriage, numerous children and his final years.
Using a mix of musical styles and instruments, the cast give voice to a host of Dickens' most eccentric and loved characters. Oliver Twist, Tiny Tim, David Copperfield, Miss Havisham, Charles Darnay and many more appear in Long’s 20 original songs which include “Aint Goin Back to Blackin” and “Far Far Better Thing”. The cast are writer/director Adam Long, Joseph Attenborough, Matthew Hendrickson, Simon Jermond and Gabriel Vick. It's designed by Lez Brotherston, with lighting by Jon Clark.
After the success of The Complete Works, which ran for a most un-abridged nine years in the West End, the critical Midas touch seemed to evade this new redux show, despite a few favourable notices. Opinion ranged from contempt ("unmemorable", "dumbed-down") to quietly impressed ("works bizarrely well", "enthusiastic silliness"). And though some praised Long for his more "subtle" approach than previous shows, others felt that Dickens Unplugged marked "an abridgement too far".
- by Theo Bosanquet