FRINGE REVIEW: Olive Copperbottom – Dickens Rewritten.

Monday Magazine's theatre critic Sheila Martindale reviews Olive Copperbottom

It’s a long way from New Zealand to the West Coast of B.C., and Peggy Ashton may well be jetlagged, but you’d never know it. This woman is a bundle of superhuman energy, as she shares her own version of a Charles Dickens story about poverty in Victorian London.  Not only energy, but really excellent talent as this one person becomes a myriad of characters, from a woman of the streets to a nasty orphanage supervisor, and from an orphan now grown up to a small snot-nosed boy.  Each role has its own accent from Cockney to upper crust English.  And this actor can sing! In a variety of dialects.

The show contains a number of puns reflecting famous lines from Dicken’s novels, all of which draw an appreciative laugh from the savvy audience.  There are fights, and drunken binges, all handled with perfection.  The monologues and conversations move with lightning speed, making one wonder how she can remember so many words spoken at such a pace for 75 minutes.

There were a few technical mis-steps in the opening performance, which she handled with speed and skill, so that the errors became part of the show and part of the fun.  This is one brilliant actor, whose amazing talent could no doubt take her to Stratford, the West End or Broadway.  Luckily for us, she brings it to the 2017 Victoria Fringe.

Olive Copperbottom plays on four more occasions at the Metro Studio: August 30 at 8:45 p.m., August 31 at 9:30 p.m., September 2 at 6:30 p.m. and September 3 at 3:15 p.m.

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