Thursday, January 01, 2009

Dickens in 4D

What the Dickens? It's a theme park with an Oliver Twist. Click to enlarge.

Dickensian England was a pretty brutal place all round. Our modern-day Scrooges and Bill Sykeses are no match for the mean-spirited and violent originals from the nineteenth century. That's why I was delighted to discover that the world of Charles Dickens has been lovingly recreated in a Chatham theme park called Dickens World. According to the leaflet I recently picked up, 'some parts of the attraction are not suitable for children under 1 metre tall or those with a nervous disposition'. It must be truly scary. I'd definitely want to be at least 1m 2cm before consumptively coughing up the entrance fee.

"Be thrilled," the copy thunders in the style of a B-movie trailer, "by the tales of Dickens' foreign adventures in a stunning 4D cinema show in Peggotty's Boathouse."

4D? I've only just got used to putting those special glasses on for 3D. Forgive my ignorance, but isn't 4D the kind of thing that only exists in postgraduate classes in theoretical physics? I expect there must be a wormhole at the back of Dotheboys Hall. As you head towards it, you're confronted by a resting actress who's dressed as Mrs Squeers and threatening you with a bowl of brimstone and treacle.

I feel I owe it to WARTE readers to make the trip at some point in the near future and report back on these very pages. In fact, I'm already picturing the journey...

"Please excuse me, Madam," I ventured hesitantly, "but I wondered if I might prevail upon you to direct me with the upmost urgency to Dickens World? I have a natural incapacity in matters of geography and find myself somewhat disadvantaged."

"You mean that place where they all dress up them costumes? It's down by the cinema, next to the Factory Outlet."

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