Christmas night out: Dickens and dinner

Fun festive frolics - and turkey

by Bernadette Fallon

Fairytale of New York regularly tops the poll for the most-played Christmas song, but I don’t need anyone else’s opinion to persuade me that A Christmas Carol is the most magical Christmas story ever written. So it seemed fitting to tuck into my first traditional Christmas dinner of the year before going to see ‘Dickens Abridged’ at London’s Arts Theatre last night. Just around the corner from the theatre, Kamique is a buzzy bar on St Martin’s Lane, bang in the middle of theatre land, now serving its slap-up Christmas menu.

So yes, there’s traditional turkey, carved in chunky circular discs, each with its own herby stuffing. Roast potatoes, carrots, parsnips, Brussels sprouts and a fresh cranberry sauce, with whole berries, make up the rest of the dish and it was a great start to Christmas. The menu also offers 8oz rib-eye steak – a good cut of meat, cooked to tender - with a peppercorn sauce and chunky chips. For starters there was goat’s cheese salad and a very nicely marinated plate of grilled chicken skewers served with a sweet chilli sauce. For pudding? Well, what else could it be only Christmas pudding with creamy custard – a dish that smelled and tasted like Christmas! The 3-course Christmas menu costs £29.95 Sunday to Tuesday, £32.95 Wednesday to Saturday; for more information visit – and watch the snow falling on its homepage.

And so to ‘Dickens Abridged’ – an unexpectedly hilarious musical romp through most of the writer’s best known works. Written and directed by Adam Long, a founding member/writer/director of the fantastic Reduced Shakespeare Company, whose ‘Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)’ ran in the West End for nine years and was nominated for an Olivier Award.

Five men with semi-American accents, guitars, a violin, tambourine and a great sense of comic timing pull off a hugely entertaining show. Charging at breakneck speed through Oliver Twist, Bleak House, Great Expectations, Little Dorrit and David Copperfield in the first half, we are treated to highlights, short synopsis and laugh-out-loud character studies from these classic novels – who knew Dickens had such comic potential? It’s largely down to the comic talents of the cast of course, and particularly Gerard Carey who threatens to steal the show – his female turns are particularly hilarious.

Part two features Nicolas Nickleby, The Old Curiosity Shop and a nice long chunk of A Christmas Carol. Interspersed with the novels is a look into Dickens’ own life and relationships, which adds a very poignant tone to the story and blends seamlessly into the action. A note from Adam Long, who grew up in the mountains of Northern California, at the start of the programme describes the show as a ‘mash-up of California and Dickens, The Grateful Dead meets The Ghost of Christmas Past ... with a touch of Marx Brothers thrown in for good measure.’

It’s a great night out and it runs at the Arts Theatre, Great Newport St, London WC2H 7JB, until January 5 (the second last day of Christmas – you could still eat some turkey beforehand). Tickets are £20 - £39.50; book by phone on 020 7836 8463 or online at 

Photo by Hydar Dewachi

More festive ideas - see our favourite 5 books for Christmas

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Escaping to the country, abroad or just down the road for a long weekend – exploring the world around you. Follow our team of staff writers and add your comments to kick off the debate.
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About The Authors

Carla  Griscti

Carla Griscti

Editorial assistant on allaboutyou; Music lover, travel bee and food fanatic.

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Emma Marsden

Emma Marsden

Food consultant of All About You, loves creating something out of nothing and decluttering.

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Bernadette  Fallon

Bernadette Fallon

Editor of All About You; an online journalist with a fetish for glossy magazines.

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Adrienne  Wyper

Adrienne Wyper

Deputy editor of All About You. I love cycling, cooking and creating

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Carol  Muskoron

Carol Muskoron

Associate editor of All About You, loves life (mostly) and one-pan recipes (always).

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