Friday, January 16, 2009

A Beany Fagin

Dickens' s memorable character, the Jewish arch-thief Fagin, has been reprised in the most recent new production of the play "Oliver" by none other than Mr. Bean.

It seems to be a great success and Fagin's impersonator about to take his place next the other Fagins' Hall of Fame:

"Atkinson, who plays Fagin, went down a storm with the audience, often pulling faces with visual humour reminiscent of his character Mr Bean. ...

She said: 'I've got goose pimples, I'm a bit teary.

'This is the most amazing production, I love it. I adore Rowan Atkinson. I feel he's shown a vulnerability but great warmth.' "

There is nil chance that I would get to see this play. Perhaps if they mount a production in Toronto.

In the meantime, I'll be waiting to hear what Oliver has to say about the quality and level of enjoyment and Atkinson's performance which seems to be the main hub of excitement of this particular musical, at this time.

By some odd coincidence, yet again, some talk of Fagin took place in the comments to this thread, where one commenter observed that :

"Of the examples given only Dickens belongs in the camp of enlightenment and decency. For surely the depiction of Fagin and his exploits is more amusing than offensive."

There is a lot more to be said for Fagin's
character, that some like to view as classically antisemitic. As with Shylock, it is my opinion that the literary character rather contradicts the stereotype but that's a discussion for another time.


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