Review of ‘Bleak Expectations’: “Butter upon bacon is kind of tasty”

The bliss and charm of Victorian Great Britain relives through this joyful story of murder, treason and animal cruelty. Guillermo Nazara narrates his experience during the opening night of this radio hit transformed for the stage, to prove his sanity after experiencing such a bonkers show.

Dear Lord Saddendown of Grimville,

It is my somber duty to inform you about the sordid events that took place last night amidst the chaotic gala held by Mister and Misses Pip, Poppy and Pippa Pig (I mean, Bin) at their, mischievously, lovely manor in Picadilly.

As an honourable member of London’s highest cultural elite, I am appalled and disgusted (excuse my language) by the lack of respect that has been shown to those who pride themselves on the gifts of a refined mind (note to myself: tell my butler to buy me tickets for Lady Beaverton’s next trumpets show – wait, was the “s” at the end of that word?).

During the entire reception, we were presented with the most laughable kind of entertainment. But what surprised me the most was how deeply enticed all of the guests were. Such an endless recital of the most deafening cackles inundating the place for over two hours – I felt my head was about to explode until I got back into my estate and asked the help to service me with some healthy, revitilising opium.

When I was kindly invited to this event, I was informed that my esteemed friend and amateur typist Charles Dickens had been the inspiration for the performance we would be offered. I was aghast to find it was nothing but a ludicrous parody mocking the righteous values of our state-of-the-art Victorian era – those rascals were even more ungrateful than the starving orphans I employ wage-free in my factory.

I was particularly dismayed by Mr. Dom Hodson’s buffoonish attitude – sparing no second to prompt the guests into the disgraceful sin of joy. How dare he even suggest physical punishment as something pleasurable to experience, let alone watch? I am sure my noble friend and French master Sade would like to give him a slap or two for such intolerable behaviour. Bad boy – very, very bad boy!

But what struck me the most was how morally insensitive their so-called humour was: ridiculing sanctimonious governesses, twangy abusive headmasters and absolutist judges. It was frightful to see all those virtuous people be transformed into such vicious caricatures. Thank goodness for John Hopkin’s good-hearted portrayal of Gently Benevolent and his fresh-cat-blood-filled fountain pen. Now that is a man I respect.

I must be brief as I am preparing for a photographic session with the corpses all of my deceased relatives, but I must stress my concern about how macabre this play is! There are ghosts and deaths and people do not seem to worry about it! They just chuckle, and giggle and howl as if it was the most hilarious thing anyone has seen in a long time! What is next to happen?! Abolishing child labour?! Abominable.

My dear Lord, I attended the event in hopes of relishing on the gloom and fog-studded allure London is supposed to be – especially, according to our fellow American friends. But all I encountered was an outrageous display of vivid contentment. I left in tears and with a sore feeling upon my face, as if my expressions had been subject to the sardonic impulses of… Oh, FFS, it’s hard talking like this all the time. You know what? You get the picture.

Yours sincerely,

Lord Ironicum

PS – Those who think that Simpleton is an aristocratic name please avoid reading this review. They will be granted the title instead.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

All pictures credit to Manuel Harlan.

Bleak Expectations plays at London’s Criterion Theatre until 3 September. Tickets are available on the following link.

By Guillermo Nazara

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