Six Flags Over Dickens

"Mommy, look! The video arcade! I wanna play The Wackford Squeers Hall of Horrors, and this time, I'm gonna beat Smike to death!"

A Charles Dickens theme park is opening in Kent. Says the Guardian: Don't go expecting grimy Victorian authenticity. Just enjoy the Great Expectations log flume.

We should talk. If Hannibal, Missouri can celebrate Mark Twain without actually teaching Huckleberry Finn in the local schools or publicly mentioning Jim, the escaped slave, then surely, a British developer can turn a tourist eurodollar by hiring the guy who designed Sweden's Santa World to build a theme park near the dockside where Dickens' father once worked -- to lend the park that authentic, historic connection.

Never mind the fact that Dickens' father lost the job and went to debtors' prison. You want a "Feel Bad" entertainment park or what?

On the other hand, the opening day's slime got a positive review:

"The project, three decades in the planning, is undeniably impressive. Ross Hutchins, the commercial manager ("even I have a costume - top hat and a frock coat. From the top down I want it to be 110% Dickens") was proud yesterday of the carefully slimed brickwork and authentically crumbled plaster.

'It's very, very difficult in the modern world, with health and safety, to make a building look old,' he said, surveying a satisfyingly peeling ceiling. 'I don't know how they did that.'"

April 18, 2007 8:35 AM |



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