The Pickwick Papers

Malvern Theatres


This new adaptation of Charles Dickens' first venture into writing stories bubbles along with zest and fun, although it does stall at times.

Taken from the famous author's serialised works of The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, we follow the adventures of a collection of loveable characters over nearly three hours.

The stage may be sparse but as we move with the clandestine bunch from inn to inn, a new pub sign is swung on to stage with tongue firmly in cheek.

It is all part of the gentle humour, which makes this performance so agreeable.

Actor John D Collins typifies the moral Samuel Pickwick and former Eastenders star Dean Gaffney is well suited for the role of his chirpy manservant Sam Weller (although his first appearance is not until the end of the first half).

On the comedy side of things, Daniel Robinson's Nathaniel Winkle and Scott Gray's Augustus Snodgrass are delightfully silly, flouncing around with high-pitched giggles; while Rebecca Wheatley portrays a wonderful caricature of a Victorian spinster won over by a conman as ridiculous Rachel Wardle.

All the acting is delightful and some of the scenes in the adventures stand out - including when they catch up with Ms Wardle who has fled with dastardly Mr Jingle, and the hilarious court scene when Mr Pickwick is in the dock.

However, there are moments when the action stalls, but it is overall a charming classic with a Christmas feel. To 07-12-13.

Alison Brinkworth 

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