Educational and whoopingly funny, Dickens’ Women is spectacular.
This one-woman show presents Margolyes shimmering into and out of Dickens’ various female characters; whilst weaving in the context of how these figures came to be within Dickens’ life. On emerging from the theatre, I understood why there was a queue snaking around the walls of the Pleasance beforehand. Margolyes proves her revered status as an actress, slipping between characters with grace and subtlety; with a mere contortion of the face, a widening of stance and lowering of the voice and a new character emerged.
Enjoyably, Margolyes doesn’t solely focus on famous female characters like Miss Havisham, but also lesser known figures such as Mrs. Gamp and – my favourite of the production -the forgotten dwarf character of Miss Mowcher. At times, the play became heavy with Margoyles’ analysis of the author, when instead she could have focused more on the characters that populate his work, as they had distinct voices of their own.
The true beauty about Dickens’ Women lay in its vivacity. Though Margolyes is a huge Dickens fan, the show wasn’t self-indulgent. Rather, Margolyes subtly creates an argument that Dickens writing is not esoteric, antiquated or an irrelevance to our lives, but rather an epitomising crucible of life, masterfully jammed and squashed into writing. I’m not a Dickens fan, but after this I plan on giving Great Expectations another try, which is why Margolyes’ theatre is the perfect vehicle for Dickens’ writing.