Crowds are in for a scare during Dickens adaptation

28/06/12  news'  'Pupils from Portsmouth Grammar School stage a production of The Chimes by Charles Dickens as part of the Portsmouth Festivities. (left to right), Emily Tandy (14), Jessamie Waldon-Day (14).'Pictures: Ian Hargreaves  (122214-2)
28/06/12 news' 'Pupils from Portsmouth Grammar School stage a production of The Chimes by Charles Dickens as part of the Portsmouth Festivities. (left to right), Emily Tandy (14), Jessamie Waldon-Day (14).'Pictures: Ian Hargreaves (122214-2)

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CROWDS were in for a spooky treat when young performers brought a chilling novel by Charles Dickens to life during Portsmouth Festivities.

Year nine students from Portsmouth Grammar School acted out a modern adaptation of The Chimes at the school’s David Russell Theatre yesterday afternoon.

As part of the book, which was published a year after Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in 1844, ghosts from a church visit the main character Toby ‘Trotty’ Veck in his sleep and lecture him on his poor opinions of the working class.

They then show him what his future will look like if he continues with his attitudes.

Auditions for the play, which was directed by Sandra Maturana, began two months ago and props and costumes either came from the school or were hired.

As a way of capturing the ghosts’ characteristics the students were asked to learn Butoh, a style of dance that involves twitching and slow hyper-controlled movements.

Harry Norton, 14, of Emsworth, played the role of Toby ‘Trotty’ Veck.

He said: ‘I’ve performed in shows at the school before but this was a completely new challenge.

‘I also wanted to take part because I’m interested in Dickens’ work.

‘The style of the show was very different and I really enjoyed learning what my character was like.

‘We’ve all worked hard to put this together and most importantly we’ve had fun doing it.’

Spectator Lara Wassenberg, 14, said: ‘I enjoyed the show – it really made you think.

‘It’s definitely renewed my interest in Charles Dickens and his works.’

Last night the group of young actors and actresses performed the show for the public at the school.

The festivities, which has the Dickens-inspired theme Great Expectations, also saw Lord Roy Hattersley give people an insight into the life of Liberal politician David Lloyd George at a talk at Royal Marines Museum from 7.30pm.