Dickens wrote a play?  How interesting, I want to see this?  I thought, learning about the Pearl Theatre’s presentation of Hard Times,  and too intrigued to bother to read further.  But Dickens didn’t write this play* — it’s an adaptation by Stephen Jeffreys from Dickens’ novel Hard Times as I learned when I focused in.  The acting in the Pearl’s production is marvelous, and there are flashes of interest extracted from Dickens but the play is diffuse and comes across as overlong, hinting at its origin in a book that was written to be read gradually — serialized over many weeks. 

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