Great Expectations – Charles Dickens adapted by Ken Bentley
Adapting, Dickens’s novel for the stage is a huge undertaking and here the script struggles to hold the many characters and sub plots in a cohesive state.
The iconic tale of contains some of Dickens’ most memorable characters and scenes. Pip being accosted by Magwitch, the eccentric, mysterious Miss. Havisham and the cold hearted Estella. The typical themes of wealth, poverty, love and rejection are strong alongside the triumph of good over evil.
The storyline is muddled by the extreme multi role playing with 8 actors playing 19 characters. The dim lighting also complicates identifying who is speaking.
There are moments when the plot thrives and the characters are able to be expanded upon, the longer scenes allow best use of the box set design by James Turner whilst the episodic nature of the many sub plots interrupts the flow of the drama.
The cast work hard and valiantly to keep the show together, Nichola McAuliffe as Miss. Havisham strikes a fine figure although her death was rapid and dismissive. The ending was equally as disappointing.
The costumes by Holly Rose Henshaw evoke the era well whilst Ollie King provides atmospheric original music.
There is a need for editing and refining to allow this production to have the impact of the great novel and allow the true drama to unfold.