Review: Hard Times at Oldham Coliseum

The Coliseum Theatre presents Stephen Jeffrey’s production of ‘Hard Times’, based on the Charles Dickens novel which tells the story of the fictional city of Coketown, during the industrial revolution. The play is directed by Chris Lawson and designed by Sammy Dawson.

This adaptation presents an insightful interpretation of mood, tone and pressures of the industrial society.

Photo by Joel C Fildes.

A multi-talented, multi-tasking cast of seven portrays the relationships and social class differences between characters, which includes: the steely profit and fact engrossed schoolmaster Mr Gradgrind, (played by Cliff Burnett), his good friend lisped Josiah Bounderby (William Travis) and Louisa Bounderby (Verity Henry) who is raised to dismiss emotions and live by facts.

Photo by Joel C Fildes.

The performance includes the compelling intermittent timely tapping of feet in unison with atmospheric lighting effects of haze and odourless smoke. Such effects, along with an emotive narrative, ushered the imagination to empathise with the backstories of the characters, portrayed by a resourceful multi-talented cast. The stage set was simple – less was definitely more in this case as costumes and iconic sash windows of Victorian England were in full display.

A fine production!

Hard Times showing Friday 19 May – 3 June 2017) at the Oldham Coliseum Theatre.

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