Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Mystery of Charles Dickens|
Actor: Simon Callow
Director: Patrick Garland
Genres: Drama, Musicals & Performing Arts, Mystery & Suspense
Before transferring to Broadway, The Mystery of Charles Dickens played to tremendous acclaim at the Comedy and Albery Theatres in London during 2000, then toured the UK and returned to the West End for another triumphant r... more »
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What a find!!!
Eileen Cunningham | Wichita, KS United States | 09/12/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As an English teacher, whenever I have looked for material on Dickens, I have always checked to see what it says about Dickens' boyhood, which was the source of his art, his activism, and his "ghosts." Moreover, I have more than once wished that I could have seen Dickens live on stage acting out scenes from his novels, pouring heart and soul into the performances as his biographers have so often detailed. So you can imagine my delight to find this gem by Simon Callow, who appears as Dickens in a one-man show similar to those Dickens himself would have done in London, Edinburgh, and elsewhere. Callow has made Dickens come alive more than any written biography could do. He narrates the life of Dickens from boyhood to death, moving flawlessly between biographical material and excerpts from the novels to show the biographical elements of many of Dickens' works. His depiction of the personality, accent, facial expression, and body language of the panoply of Dickens' creations, not to mention Dickens himself, is amazing. No student could come away from this video and say they had not seen or did not understand Dickens. I also appreciate the way Callow handles Dickens' troubled marriage, his idealization of his dying 17-year-old sister-in-law, and his infatuation with the young Ellen Ternan. We come away viewing Dickens not as some roving-eyed dandy, as post-modern critics often do, but as a deeply scarred man looking for the lost ideal. I will definitely show this to students everytime I teach Dickens in the future. Its intermission between Acts I and II makes it possible to split the viewing into two class periods. If less time were available, a teacher would find Act I very satisfactory as a one-period, stand-alone piece."
High school kids will hate it
John Slade | Ojai, CA United States | 01/04/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this DVD on the recommendation of the previous reviewer. I am a high school English/Theatre Arts teacher and a retired actor who admired Mr. Callow's lusty performance in the film SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, so naturally this witty actor's take on Dickens would attract my interest.
But I warn you: this is a live performance, and his sweaty close-ups and flashy vocal athleticism soundly bored and bemused my non-AP senior Brit Lit students. Even my drama students, many of them well steeped in the gorgeous but old-fashioned orchestrations of Laurence Olivier, could only hang in with Mr. Callow for about ten minutes.
Too bad, because it's a pretty good script packed with delicious tidbits about Dickens' life. If you're a Callow and/or Dickens fan, you'll probably enjoy Callow's technique, characterizations and lightning transitions. If you're a teacher, however, use this DVD to inspire you to perform Dickens' texts for your students yourself."
Theater in my Living Room
Lynda Rains Bonchack | Akron, Ohio | 10/16/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For a Dickens fan - this is a must. Dickens himself understood the magnitude of his characters and that they must be performed. He spent the latter years of his life doing live readings, performances that Simon Callow shows us in excellence. Simon is Charles Dickens for the time you invest in this performance - and what a wonderful time you will have!"