The stage was set for an evening of festive entertainment in the cosy interior of Domino Gallery (Upper Newington, off Renshaw Street). Friends gathered for what promised to be a Christmas-inspired literary performance, and home-made mince pies were gratefully washed down with seasonal cocktails.
Frank Kennedy; local actor, director, teacher and campaigner, was Charles Dickens for the night, and cut a fine figure in top hat and tails. Entering from behind a curtain, Kennedy oozed period charisma and charm as he took to the stage and began his evening’s talk.
Reading from a variety of works including David Copperfield, The Mystery of Edwin Drood and of course A Christmas Carol, ‘Dickens’ entertained his audience all night with literary delight. The evening was split into three acts, which included passages from Dickens’ works interjected with ‘personal’ comments and fascinating historical details.
The first act not only introduced our speaker for the evening, but used his literature to eloquently illustrate the stages of life a man experiences, including birth, marriage and death. This opening segment felt a little shaky, as Kennedy warmed up his voice and nerves for the evening, but his minor stumbles were endearing and made the entire affair feel a lot more personal and meaningful.
Acts 2 and 3 were more fun and lighthearted, with some excellent passage choices which added a great deal of comedy to proceedings and really created a warm, festive atmosphere. The injection of comedy also seemed to relax our speaker somewhat, who relished the audience’s participation and grew in confidence and humour as the evening wore on.
Kennedy’s choice of literature, along with his carefully researched trivia and anecdotes really added warmth to the performance, and his silly props added an extra dimension of festive pantomime fun, which was totally unexpected but very well-received. Speaking with Kennedy as himself after the performance, he proved to be an intelligent and interesting man, with a great deal of passion for what he does, which can only help to expand his fan-base.
I strongly urge anyone who reads this to make sure to get tickets for Kennedy’s next outing as Dickens, Sunday 16th December at Liverpool One Bridewell – a venue with a real connection to the legend himself.
Thanks must be paid to Felicity Wren for providing the evening’s venue, and also to Ben Briggs, a Creative Writing student who helped organise the event.