The playwright has also adapted Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities, as well as Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, Emile Zola’s The Prisoner of Zenda, and Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, all which he staged at the theater in Greenwich, England, where he was artistic director in the 1990s. This Dickens adaptation hasn’t received any prominent productions, presumably because its brief length confines it to being more a pastiche of scenes from the novel than a fully amplified piece of theater. More often than not, as soon as we get interested in a character, he or she is whisked away, the momentum of understanding — and empathy — broken until a next brief appearance. Obviously, another disadvantage is going to be audience confusion, to some extent, as we are asked to keep track of so many individuals and relationships in so short a time without a blackboard diagram or spreadsheet.
Nevertheless, the gang at 2nd Story Theatre give us plenty to enjoy. Costumes by Ron Cesario and lighting design by Ron Allen well maintain our sense of place in the proper moods. Director Richardson, whom we usually see drawling through marvelously timed comic roles at the theater, has stitched together this series of set pieces and transition scenes quite entertainingly.
, Jane Austen, Emile Zola, Charles Dickens, More