[20000021] Hard Times

Hard Times

The Foreign Legion (Cartoons)

5:00pm, Sat 4 Mar 2000

Score: 10

Short Review: Magnificent!!

Another combined theater simple and Ghostlight production, “Hard Times” (adapted from Charles Dickens’ novel by Ghostlight) proved to be truly exceptional theatre.

In typical theater simple style, the stage was stark but for performers and purely functional props (but why was Zoe Galvez reading “Moby Dick”? :) The performers themselves were superb without fault: Monique Kleinhans plays her 3 main roles (the regal Mrs Sparsit, the woefully drunken Maddy and the militant Slackbridge) perfectly; Amy Augustine is wonderful as James Harthouse (and the impish Sissy Jupe early on); and the love between Llysa Holland and Craig Neibaur (as Rachael and Stephen, respectively) is absolute.

One other point of note is the direction; Bill Peters (as well as directing “Hunting for Moby Dick“) controlled the floor with unwavering accuracy. In fact, it’s nigh-on impossible for me to fault this production in any way – everything about it is superb, from the labour songs that open each Act to Amy Augustine’s haunting closing song. To paraphrase Louisa Gradgrind: The only feeling I have ever been certain of is sheer, unadulterated love for this production. Without a doubt, this will be one of the highlights of the Fringe/Festival.

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