The Theater: Mr. Dickens

In his later years Charles Dickens was almost as famous a reader as he was a writer. What he read were his own works, aloud, before huge, rapturous, often hysterical audiences in England, Scotland, Ireland, the U.S. These strenuous performances filled his pockets, ministered to his stage-struck ego and almost certainly shortened his life. His friends, indeed, opposed his 1867 U.S. tour, which proved as taxing as it was triumphant.

Last year Playwright-Actor Emlyn (Night Must Fall) Williams, a rabid Dickensian, got the idea, not just of repeating the Dickens readings, but of...

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