Penny Ashton presents a new musical inspired by the writings of Charles Dickens as part of Comedy Festival 2017.

Olive, a beautiful virtuous orphan, teaches the younger orphans at Mrs Sourtart’s squalid orphanage in exchange for a place to live. Her suitor, Edward Goodsort, was reclaimed from the same establishment by his moneyed family and now lives a life of luxury. Yet he can’t forget Olive and wishes to rescue her. Although Olive loves him, she won’t let him alienate his new found family. After an unfortunate incident, Olive must leave everything she knows to venture out into the world. With Edward not the only man to look for her, will our intrepid Olive find a happy ending? Or will she be left cold and alone in pox-ridden London to die a gin-fueled death?

Ashton gives a virtuoso performance as multiple characters. Rather than costume changes she relies on slight physical and accent changes to outline each character. She’s not afraid of five different characters within one song, each following the other in rapid succession. Occasionally this is confusing but mostly it is a lot of fun. The script is filled with puns, pointed observations, and innuendo. With beautiful costuming by Elizabeth Whiting and musical support composed/arranged by Robbie Ellis this is a well designed production.

A suitably twisty story with an honourable hero, morally bankrupt villains, outrageous names, and songs with familiar melodies add up to an entertaining night out. Jolly good fun.