Friday, April 27, 2007

Fallen on Hard Times

I've been getting a little behind with the newspaper lately. One of our local columnists ran a bit of info last week on the expected opening, near London, of a new theme park purporting to re-create Charles Dickens' London.
Imagine,urges our fearless correspondent, finally your dreams of hopping over puddles of raw sewage while having your pocket picked by a malnourished street urchin can come true.
Well, heck, what are we waiting for? To Merrie Englande!

The Boston Globe has a longer, more optimistic account of the facility.

The Guardian is less sanguine about the whole thing:
Dickens World feels like Disney gone to the dark side.

The reviewer, Simon Swift, doesn't stop there, either:
The whole project cost £62m and hopes to present Dickens to coaches of schoolchildren without having to call in the Muppets for backup.
Actually, I kinda liked their Christmas Carol version. Don't think Gonzo and Rizzo would work in Hard Times or Great Expectations, though, unless perhaps Rizzo did a cameo sitting in the dessicated wedding cake.

The plan is to artfully side-step the more gruesome aspects of Dickens' work while still remaining faithful to the Victorian period...
With impressive restraint, Swift refrains from using "artfully dodge." I guess that's why he's writing for the Guardian, and I'm blogging.

...the logo on the front of the Dickens, the Artful Dodger, Bill Sikes' dog and Little Nell enjoying the thrills of the Dickens World water ride. That's the same Little Nell who died of physical exhaustion at the climax of the Old Curiosity Shop...
Okay, now that is just wrong. Where are those sensitivity police when you really need them?

Actual rides/attractions at the park include (I am not making this up):
Animatronic show of Dickens' life
Fagin's Den preschool play area (no, I am not joking!)
Ebenezer Scrooge's Haunted House
Great Expectations boat ride/flume
Newgate Prison (well, a re-creation thereof, anyway)
Dotheboys Hall classroom, where kids can sit in desks and be yelled at
Six Jolly Fellowship Porters bar

D and I were inclined to wonder what else might entice the Dickensian-minded visitor. The Old Curiosity Gift Shop, perhaps? Fezziwig's Tilt-A-Whirl? A bungee attraction called The Drop?



Blogger Darwin said...

Spontaneous combustion light show in honor of Bleak House?

I think I shall have to go off to my growlery after reading about this one.

Though one may always hope that something will turn up.

There must be far, far better things they could have done with that money.

Perhaps the same group could look at making Twain World in the states -- but of course the two could never meet...

1:30 PM  
Blogger CMinor said...

Twain World...though the rides would be kind of obvious--steam boats, Injun Joe's cave (didn't Disney have one of those?)

On the other hand, you could come up with a pretty cool "Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven" ride using an aircraft simulator!

Hal Holbrook would just never be allowed to retire.

9:43 PM  

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