In Review: Average Romp: Charles Dickens — The Chimes

Toby Veck worries that he has become a burden on society. He wonders if his family would be better off without him.
Toby Jones

Synopsis: In The Chimes, Toby Veck worries that he has become a burden on society. He wonders if his family would be better off without him. Toby’s troubled by a newspaper report. He reads about a young mother who recently killed herself and her baby by jumping off London Bridge.

 He’s been told that the poor don’t deserve sympathy. He’s been told that some people are just born bad and beyond redemption.

Unfortunately, he’s starting to believe it. However, on New Year’s Eve, the Chimes set out to prove him wrong.

Review: The Chimes by Charles Dickens is the thematic sequel to A Christmas Carol. It hasn’t been made into a film since 1914. Moreover, it’s never been adapted for television.

That’s why most people, like myself, have never heard of this story. Sadly, Dickens needed to write this tale. Sadder still, The Chimes is as relevant a work today as it was in 1840.

 

The Story

As ever, Jonathan Morris did an excellent job adapting this precursor to It’s A Wonderful Life. I doubt it was an easy job. 

There’s significantly less world-building involved. Dickens crafted The Chimes into a full-on radical social polemic. Granted, it needed to be that, but it left Morris with less room to maneuver than usual.

Lisa Bowerman ably directed. She allowed the story to flow organically. I never felt as if I was being bludgeoned with Dickens’ moral points.

For his part, Howard Carter provided wonderful music and sound design. I absolutely loved the central sequence with the goblins and the bells.

 

Acting

The entire cast is spot on. They all understood Dickens heightened style and the urgency with which he wrote. 

That said, I have to single out several performers. First, Toby Jones brought humanity, warmth, and depth to Toby Veck. 

Second, Laura Aikman essentially played a dual role. She conveyed Lillian’s mortal burdens and supernatural remove with equal care.

Third, Lisa Bowerman did excellent double duty as Lady Bowley. She walked a fine line, as she played an intentional caricature without being a caricature.

 

Overall

Thank you to everyone at Average Romp. I now have another great addition to my Dickensian Christmas audio collection.

 

You can purchase The Chimes at www.averageromp.com

9.5
Average Romp: Charles Dickens — The Chimes
  • Story
    8.5
  • Performances
    10
  • Audio Production
    10

Raissa Devereux became a life-long genre fan at the age of four when she first saw The Wizard of Oz at a screening at Arizona State University. Years later, she graduated from A.S.U. as an English major, History minor, Whovian, and Trekkie. Now a Florida transplant, she loves the opportunity Sci-Fi Pulse has given her to further explore space travel, time travel, masked heroes, gothic castles, and good yarns.
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