(Michael Billington's article ran in the Guardian, 4/9.)

Andersen's English

Hampstead, London  

Sebastian Barry's plays tend to deal, as Fintan O'Toole once pointed out, with "history's leftovers". Now, in this fascinating speculative piece, he tackles head-on the famous extended visit Hans Christian Andersen paid to Dickens at Gad's Hill in the summer of 1857. Yet even here you feel that Barry's real sympathy lies with Catherine, Dickens' brutally marginalised and soon-to-be-discarded wife.

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