David Copperfield at the Kings Theatre, Southsea

Poet and author Benjamin Zephaniah

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It was substance over style at a rousing performance of David Copperfield at the Kings Theatre, Southsea last night.

The historic setting provided the perfect backdrop for One Off Productions’ take on the Charles Dickens classic. And the amateur theatrical group didn’t disappoint - their acting skills rose above the simple props and scenery.

Georgia Hamoak played the role of a young David Copperfield to perfection - the character’s vulnerability and naivety were all brought to light.

Adam Brown assumed the role of the older, more confident, but still vulnerable David. You felt the passion in his lines, and the heartache when his ‘child wife’ lover Dora Spenlow, played by Leigh Cunningham, falls ill and dies.

The stand-out performance of the evening came from Henry Oastler, who did a superb job of playing the slimy villain Uriah Heep. A small clap broke out in the crowd each time the actor left the stage.

It was about the simple touches as well - the sound of the gulls made you believe you were standing with the Peggotty’s in Yarmouth.

The evening was apt as it marked the 200th anniversary of the Victorian novelist’s birth in the city. It’s a birthday treat Dickens would have been proud of.

Until Saturday.