Year: 1999

Title of the play: Mr Dickens/Mr Shakespeare

Author: Edward Petherbridge

Director: Edward Petherbridge

Others in the Cast: None


Theatre and location: The Other Place, Stratfordupon-Avon; Edinburgh Festival Fringe Pleasance

Other productions of the same play: 

Plot summary:

Peth’s role:


Advertising this as a series of extracts from Shakespeare and Dickens (strange pairing!) really contravenes the Trades Descriptions Act. It is Edward Petherbridge (RSC, NT and many another company) chatting to the audience for a very entertaining hour and a quarter. It's a different show every day, judging from what I've read and heard, for once Petherbridge begins talking, he simply wanders from subject to subject (very stream of consciousness!), fitting in extracts on the way. Certainly the show I saw differed almost totally in its Shakespeare content from the one which the Guardian critic reviewed. - Chris O'Connell, Theatre Absolute

Elsewhere, a clutch of other, near-legendary figures appear onstage either as characters or performers. Edward Petherbridge, in his solo show Mr Dickens/Mr Shakespeare (Pleasance; venue 33), recounts how a friend advised him that his chats with the audience were in danger of being more interesting than his recitations from the authors in question. Ian Shuttleworth, Financial Times


Odd, this one, but enjoyable. Edward Petherbridge's one-man show hooks 20 minutes of banter and Shakespearean verse on to a performance of a Dickens story. Then he winds it all up with a mop on his head doing the dance of Macbeth's three witches. Hello?

Petherbridge is Thesp Incarnate, oozing RSC from every pore. Reeling off a few choice tales about Prince Charles dropping backstage, Simon Callow's birthday party ("I said to him, Simon old chap") he nevertheless reminds us of the beauty and force of Shakespeare's lines, even with a bedcover wrapped round his shoulders and leaning casually on a handy plinth ("Build me a willow cabin" never fails to raise goose bumps). Bibi van der Ze, The Guardian



Royal Shakespeare Company veteran Edward Petherbridge goes in for quite a lot of chat between the extracts ("Who did Hamlet think he was, this princely person giving professional actors advice on how to do it?") in his Mr Dickens and Mr Shakespeare at the Pleasance. He does a brilliant impersonation of the 19th-century actor Beerbohm Tree doing the "Oh pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth" speech from Julius Caesar. He had learned it, complete with crackles and whistles, from a record bought for a shilling in Worthing. - Heather Neill, TES Magazine on 27 August, 1999

Production details:

Related links:


Screenshots from a video recording on Youtube

And another recording

Screenshots from a video recording of Mr Dickens. See all 5 parts on Peth's Youtube Channel

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