There is nothing bleak about this Charles Dickens classic

Bleak House by The Pantaloons

Bleak House by The Pantaloons - Credit: Archant

What the Dickens is going on?

Bleak House by The Pantaloons

Bleak House by The Pantaloons - Credit: Archant

Bleak House, by The Pantaloons, Jerwood DanceHouse, Ipswich.

It is bleak out there - but don’t be downhearted, it is really great fun too.

Bleak House, by the Pantaloons, is a stage adaption of the Charles Dickens’ classic, which is set mostly in a foggy and smutty London.

It is a tale of legal shennanigans, murder, love, orphans, money and evil.

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And, in the greatest traditions of live theatre, it all becomes terribly funny.

The five strong Pantaloons team; Edward Ferrow, Kelly Griffiths, Neil Jennings, Alex Rivers and Christopher Smart portrayed a host of Dickens’ character from this substantial novel.

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Hats off to them.

The hats, scarves, veils, suits and dresses are swapped with amazing speed as male becomes female, female becomes... another female and there are a couple of characters that seem to cross the gender boundaries.

Edward Ferrow’s roles include being Dickens, the narrator, and there was loads of audience participation.

Dickens’ quirky characters all become larger than life.

In his day Bleak House was published as a serial and the plot and many sub-plots entwine and grow as it progesses.

If he was alive today he would probably be writing EastEnders or Coronation Street, I reckon.

Love is in the air at Bleak House itself. Orphaned cousins Ada Clarke and Richard Carstone are falling for each other.

Their companion Esther Summerson, who also has mysterious parentage, has become the focus of the romantic attentions of their guardian, John Jarndyce.

A young lawyer and a doctor are both competing for her favours as well. Popular girl.

Meanwhile the elegant Lady Dedlock is hiding a dangerous secret.

When a dead body is discovered in rooms at Mr Krook’s Rag and Bone Shop, the mystery threatens to have an impact on a large number of people’s lives.

And a murder follows.

But who did it?

A detective inspector calls to find out.

Dickens (Ferrow) tells us the original novel has 67 chapters in all but this is a fast-paced show that zips along.

The actors are used to working up close and personal with their audience and there was a great rapport built up.

It really was a fun-filled evening - a great night out.

The Pantaloons are on tour this summer to present an open air programme which includes Pride & Prejudice, Much Ado About Nothing and Treasure Island.

They will be returning to Suffolk.

If you like a laugh, don’tt miss them if you get the opportunity.

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