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WOS Outing: Callow solves Mystery of Charles Dickens

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Last night over 120 theatregoers joined our Whatsonstage.com Outing to see Simon Callow perform The Mystery of Charles Dickens, a one-man show about the life and times of one of England's most well-known and well-loved writers. Written by award-winning novelist, biographer and poet Peter Ackroyd, who has also written an extensive Dicken Biography as well as "London: A Biography" - which tells the story of the city which has exerted powerful influence over Dickens' writing - it's a mesmerising 90 minutes about a fascinating man.

As Callow leap frogs between simple biographical facts and wonderfully clear characterisations of Dickens' most well-known characters you learn of Dickens' difficult childhood and turbulent adulthood. A deeply complex man, he comes to life as Callow re-enacts his live readings and gives extracts from his own letters and notes. Callow, in the really interesting post-show Q&A, insists however that he did not simply want to reproduce Dickens. His performance is not a mirror of the man, but a flavour of him, presented to show us the passion and complexity of the man - something which Callow certainly achieves.

Along with explaining how he came to do this piece in particular and how he tackled the script and research required Simon Callow also gave us an insight into why he choses one-man shows at all. Challenging as they are, for Callow they provide the opportunity to really interact with an audience and tell a story, something which Callow believes is at the very heart of any theatrical endeavour. The post-show Q&A also threw light on Callow's experience of other pieces, both one-man shows and full cast productions, as well as his written work and years at university as a dresser for Micheál mac Liammóir, one of his many inspirations.

Please do email any photos of the event you might have or comments about last night to [email protected]

Laura Norman
Club Manager

Click here for details of our upcoming Outings, including trips to Loserville, Daddy Long Legs and Callow's Christmas Carol.

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