Long before the doors of the Small Concert Room in St. George’s Hall opened on Sunday, people were lining the stairs in eager anticipation for the commencement of the fifth annual Penny Readings. Once inside, and after some negotiation with the lighting, the packed hall was welcomed and prepared for the proceedings by Jane Davis whilst a picture of the man himself, Charles Dickens, rested at the back of the stage. The audience were then treated to the work of Sarah Jane Vespertine, Somalifields and a fantastic reading of some of T.S. Eliot’s poetry by a very lively Brian Nellist; a big hit with the audience.
Songs by Kensington Community Choir were another highlight of the evening, with professional, enjoyable and moving performances. El Ghawazee, a belly-dancing group, shimmied us into the interval for another favourite of the evening – the raffle! Having won books, wine and chocolates, the audience settled back into the second half of the night with more musical performances, before the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Janet Suzman read from Great Expectations, which enraptured the whole audience in the power of its delivery.
The ‘pudding’ of the evening came in the form of Phil Davis’s reading from A Christmas Carol, before Kensington Choir took to the stage once more to sing ‘Deck the Halls’, this time with (very willing!) audience participation. With such a wide variety of acts, a full turn-out and an extremely festive atmosphere, there is only one question that needs answering: would Dickens have liked it? Yes he would!
Posted by Claire Speer
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Read an online article about the Penny Readings published in the Liverpool Daily Post.