Review: Dickens’ Women (Richard Jordan Productions Ltd.)

Miriam Margolyes in Dickens' Women

Talented theatre from a talented actor in Dickens’ Women, part of Toronto’s Word Festival

Dickens’ Women is part of The Word Festival celebrating the bicentenary of Charles Dickens at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts.

Miriam Margolyes performs 23 of Dickens’ characters in the play. She is an amazing actor with a fabulous voice – or fabulous voices, all 23 of them. Think about it for a minute; 23 characters in a play, all performed by one actor and all brilliant. Her two character scenes are marvellous, her timing is perfect, her facial expressions are pure gold.

It’s a bonus evening, you’re entertained and educated.

In the end the play is about Dickens’ the man revealed through his characters, particularly his women characters. The characters Margolyes plays are based on people in Dickens’ life, people he cared for, loved and hated.

Some of the characters are familiar, some aren’t but they all shed light on Dickens’ character and personality. The popular view of Dickens is that he was a nice man, fighting poverty, inventing Christmas. Okay, maybe not actually inventing Christmas but you get the idea. A family man with lots of children. Dickens actively fostered that image.

The reality is surprisingly different. He was quite cruel. He treated his wife terribly.

It’s fascinating the way Margolyes teases out the information with her characters, describing the people they were based on, giving them a context, entertaining us, making us laugh, all the while painting a picture of Dickens.

As interesting as it is the best thing about the play is the opportunity to see an actor with Margolyes talent live on stage.

Dickens’ Women is only playing until Saturday so get tickets now.


Dickens’ Women is playing at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts (50 Tank House Lane) until Saturday, December 15, 2012
– Performances are at 8 pm with an additional matinee at 4:30 pm on Saturday
– Ticket prices range from $30 to $40, $20 for students
– Tickets are available online, by phone at 416-866-8666, or at the box office

Photo of Miriam Margolyes in Dickens’ Women