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'A Perfect Likeness,' a great one at the Fremont Centre Theatre

Bruce Ladd (with beard) and Daniel J. Roberts
Bruce Ladd (with beard) and Daniel J. Roberts
Will Hastings

Intelligent and imaginative, “A Perfect Likeness” presents a conversation between authors Charles Dickens and Lewis Carroll that MIGHT have happened (although it really didn’t). It is the product of playwright Daniel Rover Singer’s impressive imagination, and it is now performing at the Fremont Centre Theatre in South Pasadena.

There is no proof that Dickens and Carroll ever met in real life. However, there is indication that the latter once requested the address of the former, a fact which grew in Singer’s fancy to become the 90-minute-long exchange now presented at the Fremont.

There is no doubt that Singer was a true fan of both authors to start with. “My collections of their books live side-by-side in my big bookcase,” he says. His knowledge of the writers’ lives, their idiosyncrasies, flaws, and strengths is obvious. What is even more admirable is the playwright’s ability to offer an enormous amount of information in a light and humorous manner that keeps the audience blissfully entertained while they're actually learning plenty.

Daniel J. Roberts plays Reverend Charles Dodgson (better known as Lewis Carroll) - the uptight, nervous lecturer in Mathematics at Oxford University who became famous after penning “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” Bruce Ladd plays Charles Dickens, the writer of “A Christmas Carol,” “Oliver Twist,” “David Copperfield,” and so many more, whose personality was an opposite to Carroll’s for his irreverence, outspokenness, and keenness for the type of language and behavior that would mortify any Reverend. Roberts and Ladd are fantastic in their deliveries, making the hour-and-a-half (with no intermission) fly by.

If you’re lucky, you’ll be invited after the play to hear a reading of short pieces by Dickens and Carroll no more than 10-minutes long each. It is outstanding to hear Roberts and Ladd deliver the readings… which in reality they seldom read and more often recite.

If you are a fan of Carroll and Dickens you will certainly love this play. If you are not, you will be a fan thereafter. Of your theater options for the upcoming month, make sure to move this one to the top.

“A Perfect Likeness” will play until December 22 Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 3 p.m. (Dark on Thanksgiving weekend.) Tickets range $15 through $25. See for tickets and more information or call (866) 811-4111.


Twitter: @denavidasalsera