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By Chris Tookey

You can read more about my Musicals - and hear songs from them - on

After Hard Times’s box-office record-breaking, critically acclaimed season at the Theatre Royal, Windsor, I wrote a pessimistic prediction in the Daily Mail about the likely reaction of the London critics:
We’re a bit nervous about the critics. A lot of the best musicals have survived despite rather than because of them. Brian Blessed can’t remember a single favourable review of Cats, in which he starred many years ago.
Les Miserables suffered terribly at the hands of reviewers who felt it trivialised a great novel, even though it was doubtful how many of them had read it. And the American reviewers of West Side Story were notoriously in agreement that the show lacked a single tune you could hum.
I do worry that Hard Times – with our circus-like presentation, Craig Revel Horwood’s exuberant choreography and Gemma Fripp’s richly colourful design – has turned into such an accessible romp that some critics will mistake it for a downmarket crowd-pleaser, and not notice the show’s more serious aspects.
My worst fears were borne out by the early reviews, which – though mostly favourable – were deeply disappointing in the light of the show’s quality and popularity with the audiences that came to see it. A small number of critics (but an influential minority) arrived so prejudiced against my approach to Dickens and my perceived hubris as a critic-turned-creator that they failed to experience anything remotely resembling the show that was in front of them.
The mixed critical reaction made it inevitable that Hard Times would struggle to find an audience, even though it still managed to play to rising numbers for over 100 performances, a media backlash did develop in favour of the show, and Hard Times received cheering – and usually standing – ovations from the public at every performance.
More than two months into the run, the Daily Mail offered me an opportunity to record my feelings at that point about the press reaction.
I wrote that the London theatre critics, notoriously curmudgeonly about musicals, had been – on the whole - grudgingly enthusiastic. Hard Times opened to better reviews than were received by long-running hits such as Les Miserables and Cats, or the Royal Shakespeare Company’s memorable production of Nicholas Nickleby…
Each of the leading performers, from Brian Blessed downwards, received favourable notices, though no one was surprised when Roy Hudd stole most of the raves in a part which might have been written for him, and indeed was.
Still, one of the most sobering lessons for a critic to realise was that, although bad reviews can sink a show (as they did with Tess and Lautrec), good reviews don’t ensure commercial success.
With a trace of asperity, I wrote that another lesson I had learned from putting on Hard Times was that many theatre critics are fundamentally out of touch with theatre audiences. Also, many critics arrived at the first night with a set of preconceptions about Dickens that made it impossible for them to appreciate the musical for what it is. I continued with my own thoughts about Hard Times, the novel:
Several myths have grown up about Dickens’ most controversial book. One is that it is an attack on capitalism (the historian Lord Macaulay famously dismissed it as “sullen socialism”). Another is that the novel is grim, naturalistic and humourless. A third is that Gradgrind, the Victorian school-owner whose name has become a byword for pedantry, is the principal villain of the piece.
All three misconceptions can be traced back to the influential but distinctly humourless Cambridge don F.R. Leavis. He didn’t like most of Dickens’ books but praised Hard Times because it approximated most closely to the kind of work written by Leavis’ literary hero, D.H. Lawrence. Leavis’s blinkered view of Dickens has influenced generations of English literature students, many of whom have become critics.
Previous adapters of the novel for stage and TV have allowed their own Left-wing beliefs to make them misinterpret Hard Times as a straightforward attack on capitalism. Yet Dickens was never the socialist that critics have praised (or blamed) him for being. He was sceptical about the necessity of class struggle, and deeply pessimistic about its effects.
If you read Dickens’ novel without Leavisite or Left-wing preconceptions, you will find that it is primarily a domestic, and often a very comic, novel. The metaphors and symbolism are taken from fairytale, Victorian theatre and the circus.
Dickens was never a dour, naturalistic writer, least of all in Hard Times. Dickens never takes us inside a factory, and the moments in our musical which reveal the darkest side of Victorian industry – such as the child labour conditions – are not from the novel. They were written by me with information that became available to Dickens only after he had written the novel, and which he published later in his magazine Household Words…
Some critics complained that Brian Blessed, who plays both Dickens and Gradgrind within the show, softens Gradgrind unduly. But to say that is to misunderstand the role of Gradgrind in the novel, for he is not the villain of the piece. That role is shared by a variety of other characters: the boorish Bounderby, the snobbish Mrs Sparsit, the hedonistic James Harthouse, the selfish Tom, the spiteful Bitzer.
Gradgrind is a more rounded character, into whom Dickens poured several of his own characteristics: upward mobility, self-reliance, dissatisfaction with his wife, disappointment with his oldest son, a belief in the importance of education being extended to everyone, regardless of sex or income.
Dickens wrote after the publication of his novel that he had never intended Gradgrind to be the villain: “I often say to Mr Gradgrind that there is reason and good intention in much that he does - but that he overdoes it.”
Gradgrind is redeemed at the end of Hard Times by love of his daughter and a belated realisation of the importance of imagination. He is the tragic anti-hero of the novel, a kindly man undone by his fanatical belief that education exists to prepare people not for life but for work, that the arts and entertainment are unimportant to the human soul, and that achievement is measurable only in terms of material wealth and upward mobility.
Dickens's satire on those attitudes – which are even more common now than in Dickens’ day - is as fresh, sharp and funny as it ever was. A work that once spoke to Victorian Britain now speaks to the whole world.
And that, I believe, is why so many people who come to see Hard Times The Musical without wrongheaded preconceptions have taken the show to their heart – and why it will go on to have a life in theatre, long after our efforts in the West End have been consigned to history.
Well, let’s hope so. Anyway, here is a round-up of the media reaction to Hard Times, pro and anti, plus a selection of theatregoers’ comments from letters that Roy Hudd, my co-Producer Peter Penny and I received during and after the run of the show.
“Tunes you can hum, a keen wit in both the lyrics and script… There’s the great Roy Hudd, bringing his own marvellous brand of music-hall buffoonery… A highly polished, exuberant piece that will send audiences home with warm hearts and a spring in their step. Such flair and the wholly wonderful cast might just propel the all-British Hard Times into musical theatre history. And deservedly so.” (Bill Hagerty, News of the World)
“A fabulous show. It’s what musicals should be. It’s brilliant - one of the best musicals I’ve ever seen.” (Jim Davidson, The Generation Game, BBC1)
“Thoroughly enjoyable… tuneful… There is colour, energy, exuberance, humour and charm.” (John Gross, Sunday Telegraph)
“A jolly good time… a Dickens of a Musical… There is much vaudevillian pleasure on tap. The peerless Roy Hudd’s a hoot… The redoubtable Brian Blessed is delightful, too… Jan Graveson catches the eye as the loyal Rachel… An eager young cast does a splendid job… Well-constructed songs and neat, well-turned lyrics.” (Michael Coveney, Daily Mail)
“Cheerfulness reigns throughout… Hard Times reminds us of the days when the musical was a source of innocent delight.” (Michael Billington, Guardian)
“Tookey’s tunes are every bit as catchy as those of Lionel Bart, and his lyrics are better… The oyster-eyed Roy Hudd has a marvellous time… Brian Blessed lends his massive presence and decent singing voice to the proceedings. Anne Emery almost stopped the show with her death-bed scene, a spiffing tap-dance routine; Malcolm Rennie as the gross mill-owner Bounderby, is wonderfully vulgar; Susan Jane Tanner is very funny indeed as the sex-starved spinster Amelia Fidget; and Peter Blake oozes sin as the seducer, Harthouse. Tookey cleverly saves up his circus tricks for a stunning finale to one of his best tunes.” (William Russell, Glasgow Herald)
“Warm, thoroughly likeable… Sheer exuberance and unapologetic love of life.” (Benedict Nightingale, Times)
“The show has an intimate scale, a sense of humour and a respect for such old-fashioned virtues as a narrative you can follow and tunes you could hum along to… Presiding over numbers that are frivolous and sometimes just plain batty, MC Roy Hudd’s Sleary lends the mischievous twinkle of a variety pro to every aside. The cast exude enjoyment… Peter Blake is memorably raffish as Harthouse.” (Dominic Cavendish, Time Out)
“Charming, and it has a warmth about it that is very welcome after some of the more soulless blockbuster musicals. It is performed with zip and polish… Wittily arranged by Mark Warman… Helen Anker and Alicia Davies are endearing as Louisa Gradgrind and Sissy Jupe; Malcolm Rennie is splendidly grotesque as Mr Bounderby, and Roy Hudd is a delight throughout.” (Sarah Hemming, Financial Times)
“A winner… rich in toe-tapping tunes and sharp lyrics… It’s a rare thing to happen on a show that manages to be both old-fashioned and fun to watch – with a telling message still fresh today.” (Victor Olliver, On Stage, Channel 4)
“The best of the four new shows opening in London in early Summer… It is not just an eminently likeable piece of musical theatre but one that is ultimately touching and moving. Much of the credit must go to writers Christopher Tookey and Hugh Thomas for coming up with such an endearing score. It is packed with memorable, melodic and magical songs. I defy anyone to leave Hard Times without a sprinkling of songs in their head; indeed I am thinking of suing the writers as for the last week I have gone about singing nothing but the infernally catchy Another Town Tomorrow. In an era when melody has become almost a bad word in theatrical terms it is indeed a treat to welcome such a joyous example of the genre… Tightly directed by co-writer Tookey, it moves along at a cracking pace and I was astonished at the end to discover that I had been sharing the company of the cast for almost three hours… Brian Blessed gives a remarkably restrained performance in the dual roles of Charles Dickens and Thomas Gradgrind and offers up two of the show's most moving moments in the tender duet with his daughter Louisa (Helen Anker) Ask of Me Anything and the touching When I Was A Boy… And yet, the strength of Hard Times lies in team effort and numbers like the opening The Greatest Show On Earth and Better Things Shall Be, where they all pull together, are particularly successful… Hard Times is beginning to find an audience through word of mouth and repeat visits are becoming common.” (Mike Gibb, Show Music)
“For sheer innovation and charm, Hard Times is hard to beat… Dickens himself appeared on stage at the Haymarket in the 1840s and I feel sure he would have completely approved of this Penny/Tookey production. There are some cracking good numbers… The Dickens storyline holds in shape well with the dark, satanic mills of the Bounderby world balancing nicely with the colourful carefree world of Mr Sleary and his travelling circus. What is perhaps most striking about Hard Times is its unique Britishness. We have lived for so long under the shadow of the American musical, we seem to have forgotten how important it is to develop our own strain and, what is more, freely to enjoy it.” (Sukie Picarda, The Guide)
“Dickens would surely have enjoyed Bounderby’s That’s What Made Me A Man, Mrs Gradgrind’s extraordinary farewell tapdance and Harthouse’s wonderfully louche Haven’t We Met Somewhere Before, which I still find myself humming. There’s definitely room in the broad church of today’s pluralist culture for entertainment as gentle and life-enhancing as this.” (Andrew Lambirth, Royal Academy Magazine)
“Radically different from recent rubbishy French and American imports. It is defiantly English. Its roots lie in music-hall and melodrama rather than rock. And it offers us an evening of innocent delight instead of trying to batter us into submission… It is Roy Hudd’s Sleary, however, that really makes the evening work… Mr Hudd is a national treasure… Hard Times has an easy-going, old-fashioned charm and a delight in human communication at a time when most musicals seem to be composed for adenoidal androids.” (Michael Billington, Country Life)
“It would be a pity if there was not a place in the West End for a jolly family musical… an engaging mixture of music hall, circus and the kind of British musical that fell out of fashion in the Seventies… It is an idea that works well, highlighting the link between Victorian entertainment and the reality it is designed to obliterate… There are thoroughly enjoyable performances from Malcolm Rennie as Bounderby, Susan Jane Tanner as Mrs Sparsit, Peter Blake as the odious Harthouse and two delightful young ladies, Helen Anker and Alicia Davies, as Louisa Gradgrind and Sissy Jupe. As he also directs as well as being co-writer, Tookey’s head is firmly on the block, but a stay of execution by his fellow critics is well deserved.” (Peter Hepple, The Stage)
“Wit, an ingredient missing from most modern musicals, is to be found in Hard Times… The music is pleasant… the lyrics well honed… It is a good, very British, family show.” (David Nathan, Jewish Chronicle)
“Pleasingly tuneful… Peter Blake plays the evil seducer Harthouse with a most welcome whiff of brimstone and decadence.” (Charles Spencer, Daily Telegraph)
“Roy Hudd has a whale of a time… Mark Warman’s orchestrations have colour and wit.” (David Benedict, Independent)
“An evening of family fun … The cast seem to be having such a good time, their enjoyment is infectious… Tookey and Thomas' lyrics are full of good jokes… The Victorian circus costumes are delightful.” (Lizzie Loveridge, CurtainUp)
“A thoroughly enjoyable musical, a classic ‘good night out’… It allows the two stars to employ their natural charm to the fullest. It would be hard to find two performers with more natural audience rapport on the same stage anywhere, and Blessed and Hudd seem at times to be in a charm-the-audience competition… Susan Jane Tanner adds to the fun… The music is very pleasant pop, and I wouldn’t mind hearing Spring or One of These Days picked up by some recording artist and made a hit. In keeping with the general tone, the comic numbers are the best, with a very funny deathbed song and dance and an equally comic seduction number. Christopher Tookey’s direction is sprightly, but loose enough to allow the two stars room to flirt with the audience. Craig Revel Horwood has choreographed some very clever dances, including a tapdance for fingernails, a number in which the dancers shape the alphabet with their bodies, and, for no particular reason, a dancing camel… Hard Times is good, clean, happy fun. And it is loaded with charm.” (Gerald Berkowitz, Theatreguide)
“Telling Dickens’ grim tale of life in a dreary industrial town using a circus troupe and incorporating strong elements of music hall and pantomime sounded like a recipe for disaster. But in the skilful hands of all concerned it works remarkably well. Allegorical in nature, the circus injects elements of lightness and humour to permeate the shadows of darkness. Consequently, rather than trivialising the plight of the factory workers and their families it has quite the opposite effect, the sharp contrasts making the serious moments all the more telling…One thing that is universal to Dickens’ work… is the multitude of central characters and Hard Times is no different. As a result actors who might have expected a role on the sidelines find themselves centre stage, delivering songs of quality and worth. Such a situation gives true stalwarts of the London stage such as Malcolm Rennie, excellent as the overbearing Josiah Bounderby, especially delivering the witty That's What Made Me A Man, and Peter Blake as the slimy womaniser James Harthouse, the chance to show off their talent to the full. Just as important, however, is the opportunity for numerous young thespians like Matt Rawle (Thomas Gradgrind), Russell Wilcox (Stephen Blackpool), Jan Graveson (Rachel), Helen Anker (Louisa) and several others to shine through. The bleak grey brick walls that enclose the stage space are a perfect manifestation of the dreary Coketown while the simple circus props instantly change the mood when circumstances dictate. All these attributes are topped by the excellent score, superbly orchestrated by Mark Warman, which is never less than entertaining and frequently absorbing.” (Mike Gibb, Masquerade)
“The brilliantly talented cast perform with gusto… The death of Mrs Gradgrind complete with tap dancing corpse and mourners is wonderfully inspired and certainly one of the campest moments ever seen on the London Stage.” (Richard Hayward, Footloose in London)
“Humane and hilarious.” (, Asian internet site)
“Good, old-fashioned fun displayed by a talented, appealing bunch of thesps… Christopher Tookey and Hugh Thomas’s appropriate music is catchy, memorable, moving and sometimes even surprising – I must admit I never expected a tap routine in a Dickens! Among the musical numbers those that stick in the mind are the joyous What Do You Know About Love?, the infectious The Greatest Show On Earth, the hilarious I’ve Never Heard The Last Of It, with a wonderful comic performance by Anne Emery as Mrs Sleary, the uproarious Modern Marriage Pact and the positively contagious That’s What Made Me A Man (‘Oh good, you’ve made me a flan’ being my personal favourite lyric of the evening)… The show is downright entertaining.” (Mark Barlow, Musical Stages)
“Good songs… witty lyrics… Peter Blake’s performance is one of the highlights of the evening, especially in his several renderings of Haven’t We Met – one of the best songs in the show.” (David Thomas, Theatreworld Internet Magazine)
“It is so wonderful to see such a refreshing (peculiarly English) new musical. I came out of the third preview remembering all the songs… I was reduced to tears of emotion by several of the numbers and found myself in stitches over others… It deserves to do very well. Try and get to see it before the American tourists hear about it!” (What’s On Stage)
“Good old-fashioned fun.” (Louise Kingsley, TNT Magazine)
“Music-hall fun… Tuneful.” (Nicholas De Jongh, Evening Standard)
“There’s something for everyone.” (
“A hilarious and stunning new musical… a production that will entertain, enthral and move you… Wonderful music… impeccable choreography… an evening of entertainment that is not to be missed.” (
“Great songs, a great set and a cast to die for – Hard Times provides high-level entertainment, combining circus magic with drama in what promises to be a hit West End Musical… The show owed much of its success to the strength of its songs, which were still being hummed as people left the theatre… The quality of singing throughout the cast is exceptional… There are so many catchy numbers you can already imagine the CD being a Christmas best-seller… Hard Times moves at such a pace that songs, drama and comedy seem to blend effortlessly together.” (Ben O’Driscoll, Windsor and Eton Express)
“If you love musicals or are just looking for a good fun evening’s entertainment, then you must go to see Hard Times The Musical.” (Lindi Bilgorri, Bucks Free Press)
“A huge kaleidoscope of colour and fun… Roll up, roll up!” (Clare Brotherwood, Windsor and Slough Observer)
“A sparkling new musical… fast-moving and hugely enjoyable… excellent… It is sure to do well.” (Marion Mansfield, Reading Chronicle)
“Great theatre… Don’t miss it.” (Polly Catlin, Hayes & Harlington Gazette)
“I am a musical lover and shows are the main reason why I travel to London twice a year. This time I chose Hard Times. And I saw it 4 times. That does sound a bit crazy, I know, but I don’t regret that I saw it that often. It is a brilliant, great, fantastic show. Not only the costumes, the dancing, staging but most of all the songs and the incredible cast… It made me very sad to see that the theatre was half empty all the time because the show is really fantastic in every way. I wish I could do something about it… Thank you for writing such a great show and I hope I can see it again. If not then I will never forget it.” (Katja Koblitz, Bonen, Germany)
“While in London this month I saw many, many musicals, including Hard Times. I loved this show so much that I went to see it four times at the Haymarket Theatre. I was completely enamoured with all aspects of the show, but most of all I loved the music.” (Anders Vercelli)
“I have been to all the main musicals in London but have never felt compelled to write before… The cast were excellent… Great songs.” (J.E. French, Grays, Essex)
“I only went to Hard Times out of curiosity but I fell completely IN LOVE with this show. My friend and I thought it was absolutely brilliant. It was funny and touching and with a great, instantly hummable score (very rare these days). We both bought the CD single after the show, which I have played to death. I have waited patiently (well, not exactly patiently) for the proper London Cast recording, but it does not seem to be forthcoming. I phoned First Night Records and they said that it seemed unlikely that it would be released – is this true?” (David Campbell, Salisbury, Wiltshire)
“I must say that I thought I was going to have a boring, miserable evening. On the contrary, the show is amazing. I was riveted from beginning to end, hoping that the evening would never end.” (Bernard Stone)
“We saw the show early on in its run and both fell in love with it so much, we returned to see it again three weeks later and then booked tickets for our parents’ birthdays to see the show, who also very much enjoyed it. It is very sad the show is closing so early on in its run. It is everything I feel a show should be: funny, sad and spectacular! It really did deserve a longer run. You will all be deeply missed.” (Kevin Herbert and Lisa Marie Trump, Redhill, Surrey)
“(from a letter to Roy Hudd) We adored the show, witnessed it three times and then forced our parents to go and see it… I just have to say how sorry I was to see Hard Times close. I feel devastated and I wasn’t even in the show so goodness knows how you and the rest of the cast must have been feeling on the last night, which was a very emotional evening for cast and audience... I entirely agree with what you said to the audience at the end of the show about the extraordinary talent on that stage. I think it is tragic that such a special piece of theatre is no longer running in the West End. Will there ever be a complete cast album, do you think?” (Kevin and Lisa Russell, Redhill, Surrey)
“Why oh why is this production running for such a short time? It is one of the best musicals I have seen. I thoroughly enjoyed it. So much so that I have seen it twice and I am terribly disappointed that it is ending. Well done to you all for such superb performances. The music, acting and circus performances make an excellent contribution and it will be a sad loss when the show comes to an end.” (Bronwyn Jones, South Norwood, London)
“The show was brilliant.” (Edmund Digby-Jones, aged 10, London)
“A tremendous evening of entertainment.” (Sally Goring, Christians in Entertainment)
“Just a short note to tell you how much I enjoyed the performance of Hard Times tonight. I can’t understand why it’s being taken off when it played to such a good house and it was received so well. The entire cast was superb.” (John Norton, Telford)
“I was so taken aback to see the stars pitching in with all levels of cast and crew, and the environment on stage seems to be one of incredible support and respect for one another. I do hope that Hard Times beats all the odds. I think it is a magical and ingenious production and it is so refreshing to see a production of this calibre putting all the rubbish in its place.” (Alexander Holt, Artistic Director, Tenth Planet Productions, London)
“The tunes were so lovely and all of us came out of the theatre singing them and listening to the CD in the car on the way home… We are flabbergasted that you will close next Saturday. It has been a long time indeed since the West End has seen such a typically British, light-hearted show, with songs you can actually remember and sing to.” (Marilyn Lucy, Cheltenham)
“People don’t know what they are missing. The songs were just as good as any Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, yet I’m afraid I had not heard of the composer before. I heard an American lady during the interval say that she was enjoying it more than Phantom. Everyone sitting around us was obviously enjoying it very much too.” (Iris Branch, St Alban’s, Herts)
“A wonderful, talented show.” (Valerie Garland, Oxhey, Herts)
“All the music was wonderful, as were all the cast.” (Vida Clarke, Aldershot)
“The show is really good.” (Kevin and Helga Wood, Deal, Kent)
“Absolutely scrumptuously superb.” (Terry Meades, Aylesbury, Bucks)
“Brilliantly presented and a thoroughly enjoyable show.” (Tony and Mary Pickard, Osset, West Yorkshire)
“What a fantastic show in every way and we greatly enjoyed it. Everyone in the cast was really outstanding in every detail – please congratulate and keep this great show going for a long, long time.” (David and Betty Pickford, Ashford, Kent)
“Truly wonderful… I can’t remember when I laughed so much or came away from a show on such a ‘high’… Many, many thanks for what had to be the ‘greatest show on earth’.” (Abigail Smith, Brighton)
“Brilliant, and imaginative. The show has good tunes and lyrics, which is quite a change these days, and the exuberance and professionalism of every member of the cast made my visit to the Haymarket a true delight.” (Stephen Mitchell, Waterlooville, Hampshire)
“A lovely, happy show.” (Audrey Day, Burnham, Bucks)
“A great show.” (Pat Evans, Braintree, Essex)
“What a delightful evening… Don’t stop having fun. The whole cast seemed to be having a whale of a time and everyone contributed to the enjoyment.” (Derrick and Kay Treeby, Broxbourne)
“A very novel way of portraying Dickens… What a talented cast… Unusual and musical.” (David Rowland, Enfield, Middlesex)
“I loved the show. Everything was wonderful. Brilliant individual and cast performances. Great show.” (Sue Middleton)
“It was most enjoyable, the cast worked very hard… We were most impressed.” (Mrs Ross Brocker, Bournemouth, Dorset)
“The best musical I have ever seen. I thought the acting and singing was fantastic.” (Sarah Main, aged 13)
“I like Charles Dickens’ book and I wondered if the show would do it justice but I need not have worried – it was brilliant.” (Maureen Hearn, Long Melford, Suffolk)
“Congratulations on a wonderful performance. I saw the show on Saturday evening and thoroughly enjoyed it, and am looking forward to seeing it again.” (Ian K. Johnson)
“Very enjoyable.” (Ken and Angela Grundy, Chesterfield)
“Absolutely brilliant… a marvellous production.” (Sue, Jenny and Arnie Freeman, Wokingham, Berks)
“One of the most interesting, exciting and amusing shows in recent times; such talented people! Fact, fact, fact!” (Ben Nisbet, Denham, Bucks)
“A terrific show.” (Kay Lord, Cookham, Berkshire)
“From start to finish: magic.” (Peter Newman, Horley, Surrey)
“Excellent. It was the best musical I have seen for a long time.” (Brian Robbins, Waltham Cross, Herts)
“Your show is entertainment at its best. How very proud you must feel!… It was a night of pure entertainment and great fun.” (Heather Bowring, Emsworth, Hants)
“It was fantastic and the chemistry on stage was amazing!” (Tim Hixson, Beckenham, Kent)
“What a pleasure to see a show that contained no sex, violence or bad language but was just full of fun and talent.” (June Guest, Halesowen, West Midlands)
“A wonderful show, well acted, marvellous music, everybody in the show worked very hard and at the same time seemed to be enjoying themselves.” (Mrs E.M. Goalby, Broadstairs, Kent)
“May I say how very much I have enjoyed the play Hard Times. I have seen it now 4 times with my friends. They are all of the same mind as I am.” (Terry Thomas, South Harrow, Middlesex)
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