Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews


DIGNITY and other stories

Dick Johns , Chapter , September-28-17
DIGNITY and other stories by Dick Johns Dick Johns is both an actor and to my mind a compulsive short story writer. We first encounter his ‘off stage’ persona: relaxed, full of smiling charm and a captivating friendliness. We soon realize this is exactly the same personality we meet on the stage. He welcomes us with some spirited badinage. We could well be a group of friends having a great time down the pub.

Eventually as he sits back on a high stool the personal reminiscences meld into his first story.
All are very telling tales of humanity. Johns puts himself right in the middle of his stories, his actor skills often producing laughter at unexpected moments.

His story ‘Joy’ was the winner of the Writers and Artists Short Fiction award in 2015. Joy would seem to be an ironic title. The story tells us of a family, ill at ease with themselves, making their way to a christening, celebrating the joy of a new arrival into the larger family circle. Johns takes us with him into the heart of the story. There is a mental connection as we share the unspoken comments he makes of his characters. Again he makes us risk a smile, his telling of the story produces a warmth that the content sometimes defies.

I have spent a very delightful hour reading my way through the 13 stories. They all have a touch of melancholy, yet there are many wry smiles on the way. Johns had added two short Pinteresque plays. In fact all the stories contain a light touch of drama, you will certainly see all that happens in your mind’s eye as you glide your way through John’s deep, highly imaginative and empathetic
observations of the foibles of humanity. With many vivid, often poetic phases he brings to life many of the people we might well know. He treats them all with a warmth, clearly here is a man who likes the people he observes so well and describes so skillfully.

The book ‘DIGNITY and other stories by Dick Johns can be bought at Griffin Books 9a Windsor Road Penarth CF64 1JB or from Price £6.99

Reviewed by: Michael Kelligan

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