Dickens birthday celebrated with autobiographical play

David Copperfield at the Kings Theatre, Southsea from February 7-11. Pictured is Rob Richards who plays Edward Murdstone, and Leigh Cunningham who plays Dora Spenlow.
David Copperfield at the Kings Theatre, Southsea from February 7-11. Pictured is Rob Richards who plays Edward Murdstone, and Leigh Cunningham who plays Dora Spenlow.
Picture: Shutterstock

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Charles Dickens had commented on how his character David Copperfield was most like himself, with the novel having autobiographical moments of his own life.

So it seems fitting, as the city gears up to celebrate 200 years since his birth in a small house in Landport, that a production of the novel is being put on at the Kings Theatre, Southsea.

David Copperfield will be performed by One Off Productions, from February 7-11.

David Lippiett, who’s producing the production, while his wife Pam directs, says: ‘I wanted to do something that would fit in with all the celebrations, and luckily enough we managed to secure the Kings.

‘The Tuesday we open is the exact day of his birth which I’m really happy about. We looked a various novels, and the obvious one did seem like Nicholas Nickleby, but it’s almost been done to death in Portsmouth.’

Closely associated with Charles Dickens’s own experiences, they decided to perform David Copperfield.

First published as a novel in 1850, it follows the story of a young boy who is forced to work in a factory by his father, and the events throughout his life as he journeys into manhood.

David says: ‘It seemed like a really good choice, and what I love about it is that it’s really a story about love, and family love. It’s faithful to the adaption by Alastair Cording, although there’s about four different versions of it.’

Not far away from the opening night, the biggest problem they’ve had to face is the vast amount of scene changes throughout.

David explains: ‘There’s a lot of transitions between the various places. It’s not all Act 1, Act 2, Act 3, they hop from one place to another. They’re in Yarmouth and then they’re in London, and there’s always something going on.’

The group even have their own music composed for the production, which David describes as ‘amazing.’

Throughout the city on February 7, and running throughout the year, there’s a number of events to celebrate the iconic author’s birthday. So there’s a lot of focus on any Dickensian related shows.

David says: ‘It’s exciting to get a lot of attention for it, and I’m hoping it will go well. We can’t be involved in anything outside of it that’s happening in the city, because we’re rehearsing continually at the moment!’

Playing the younger version of David Copperfield is Georgia Hamorak, a role traditionally played by a girl, while the older version is played by Adam Brown.

Tickets cost £8 to £12 from the Kings Theatre, Southsea on (023) 9282 8282 or go to kings-southsea.com

For more information on Dickens events in the city see Days Out in today’s news.