Picks and Pans Review: David Copperfield
Show of the week
Charles Dickens's 1850 classic David Copperfield is filled with colorful characters. David Copperfield isn't one of them. "I don't believe you can possibly be as honest and good as you pretend," says his friend Steerforth (Oliver Milburn) in this worthy ExxonMobil Masterpiece Theatre version. Although we're given no reason to doubt David's virtue, there is something not quite convincing about the hero after he grows from a quietly plucky boy (Daniel Radcliffe) into a blandly sincere young man (Ciaràn McMenamin).
No matter, really. This 3½-hour production boasts so many vivid supporting performances: Bob Hoskins as the debtridden but irrepressible Mr. Micawber; Ian McKellen as Mr. Creakle, the croaking tyrant of a schoolmaster; and particularly Maggie Smith as David's Aunt Betsey, who'll renew your faith in the human spirit when she vows to "meet our reverses boldly...and live misfortune down." Judge Copperfield by the company he keeps and he's quite an interesting fellow.
Bottom Line: Field day for actors