David Timson weaves his special magic as a one-man full cast in this production of Dickens's earliest magazine publications of essays and short stories. While delivering the author's observations of London in the morning and at night, the Greenwich fair, and the fixation of Londoners on their gardens, Timson adopts a lively and contemplative tone. He hits his stride in the comic short stories, for which he creates multiple, often hilarious, character voices. "The Tuggses at Ramsgate" features the clipped-voiced Captain Waters, his mournful and duplicitous wife, Belinda, and the nervous and lovelorn Simon/Cymon Tuggs, who gets thrown from a donkey. The cadaverous and intentionally miserable Nicodemus Dumps - "the most unfortunate man in the world" - is pure genius.
Dickens’ renowned skill for keen social observation and, more specifically, his incredibly detailed knowledge of London and its theatres, prisons and inns is perfectly released in Sketches by Boz. Many of the themes he goes on to explore in his great novels are foreshadowed in this early collection of short accounts that center on London and its inhabitants.