Bleak Expectations, Dickens’ First Draft
The premise of this show is that Charles Dickens has come to present a public reading of excerpts from the first draft of his new novel Bleak Expectations. Eden Ballantyne certainly fits the bill as a stand in for Dickens as I would imagine him to be. He is well dressed in the fashion of Victorian England. He is tall with a smartly groomed beard and an affable manner. The story he tells is a mashup of a number of Dickens’ novels, taking characters and plots from the various novels and blending them together to form a new narrative.
While I found his presentation a little dry at times, I still thought he did a decent job of narrating his story. He delivers the story in calm, even distinct tones, punctuated with a more theatrical approach in the more dramatic parts of the story. Most of the voices he gives to the various characters are done quite well. The problem I had with this show lies with the story itself. While certainly in the style of Dickens, I didn’t feel the cobbled together elements coalesced into a compelling story line. Without a strong narrative, the show became an assortment of scenes from Dickens novels which, while enjoyable in parts, overall failed to hold my interest.
Venue 10 — Planetarium Auditorium
Warnings: Mild language, violent content