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Colin Dabkowski on The Dickens Reading

Friday, March 23, 2012

A Dickens Birthday By Colin Dabkowski, News Arts Critic

from The Buffalo News

On the last international tour he took before his death, Charles Dickens stopped in Buffalo for two popular readings of his work. (His tour manager was terrified, according to his report of the trip, that a “rowdy element” of Western New Yorkers would overtake the affair, though it did not. Dickens himself was “much struck by the absence of female beauty from the readings.”)

Since that visit— researched and re-created by local actor, meteorologist and Dickens enthusiast Mike Randall for his annual performance of “A Christmas Carol”— Western New York hasn’t let go of its appetite for the popular and prolific chronicler of Victorian society and its seedy underbelly. On Sunday afternoon at 2, prompted by the bicentenary of Dickens’ birth in February, a group of local actors will give a reading of Dickens’ works in the Burchfield Penney Art Center (1300 Elmwood Ave.). The roster includes Megan Callahan, Morgan Chard, Wendy Hall, Jimmy Janowski, John Kaczorowski, Patrick Moltane, Vincent O’Neill, Adam Rath, Eric Rawski, Doug Weyand and Katie White. They’ll read excerpts from The Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, Bleak House and Great Expectations. Admission is free.