Set against a background of discontent and riots in London and Paris, A Tale of Two Cities is the story of the impoverished standing up against the aristocratic. There's drama, battle, comedy and – of course – a love story.
The transition from page to stage verges on rudimentary, as snippets of the novel's rich imagery are voiced through narration and chapter titles are projected on TV screens flanking the stage.
Detached from its own era and aligned with the contemporary refugee crisis, the story probes at class divides and feels all the more pertinent post the Grenfell fire. Occasionally the parallels are striking, especially at the end when the solace offered by returning to England is tinged by a border patrol interrogation. Yet often the mixed eras result in confusion, draining references to the Bastille and La Force prison of their significance.
The socialist core of Dickens's writing dominates this production, and certainly offers food for thought. But the real radical thing about his stories – both in the 1800s and now – is the sheer vitality, humour and sympathy with which all different classes of characters were described. It's a shame that this humanity is lost in a rather lifeless show.
|What||A Tale of Two Cities, Open Air Theatre review|
Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park
Inner Cir, Westminster, London, NW1 4NU | MAP
|Nearest tube||Baker Street (underground)|
07 Jul 17 – 05 Aug 17, Thursday & Saturday matinee at 2.15pm. No matinee 8, 13 or 15 July
|Price||£25 - £48.50|
|Website||Click here to book via Regent's Park Open Air Theatre|