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Hard Times

Cover to highlights cast recording

Book, music and lyrics by Christopher Tookey and Hugh Thomas. From the novel by Charles Dickens

Theatre Royal, Haymarket - Opened 6 June, 2000. Closed 4 August, 2000 (95 perfs)


Dicken's critique of the brutal realities of of Victorian industrial capitalism is presented as a circus, based on the appearance in the novel of Samuel Sleary's travelling circus, the performers in which act out the story of Hard Times .

Dickens’ hard-hitting novel about the brutal realities and materialistic spirit of Victorian industrial capitalism is presented in a stylised pantomime, music-hall and circus format, with the circus performers acting act out the story of Hard Times. Charles Dickens himself is prevailed upon to play the role of the grim Thomas Gradgrind. The characters include Mrs Gradgrind (who at one point jumps out of her coffin to join in a tap-dance); their daughter, Louisa, who is married off to Bounderby, the callous humbug; and the villainous rake, Harthouse, who preys on poor Louisa.

Songs include

  1. The Greatest Show On Earth
  2. One Of These Days
  3. When I Was A Boy
  4. Spring
  5. Another Town Tomorrow
  6. A Modern Marriage Pact

Cast (with original performers)

Director: Christopher Tookey
Decor: Gemma Fripp
Lighting: Zerina Hughes
Sound: Scott Myers
Choreography: Craig Revel Horwood
Orchestration: Mark Warman
Musical Director James Burton
Assistant director Graham Gill