Liz Coggins reviews Rebecca as its starts its national tour at The Alhambra Bradford
I always found the original stage version of Rebecca, adapted by Du Maurier herself a little bland, laboured and rather boring even when performed by a star-studded cast.
However director, Emma Rice has broken the mould with her new production of Rebecca and created a what can only be termed as theatrical masterpiece
Rice has re-invented and taken some liberties, but has succeeded in giving the story depth, feeling and a dark, mythical element without detracting from the story.
She has added atmospheric music and songs that blend and give the audience a feeling of the period and the place they are in, and sets that evoke a sense of Miss Haversham, moved around seamlessly giving pace and a sense of continuous action .
Rebecca only succeeds with strong characterization from its players and every member of Knee High Theatre has developed their role to its ultimate from the very dark Gothic beginning through to some frothy 30’s stylised portrayals.
Set in Cornwall the play tells the story of Maxim de Winter who brings his shy young bride to Manderley, his great house near the beach. Everywhere his bride senses the overpowering presence of his late wife Rebecca, Maxim’s late wife who drowned. Mrs Danvers, the grim housekeeper, will not allow her to forget her shortcomings.
She doubts Maxims love until Rebecca’s body is found. Confessing he murdered Rebecca, hating her depravity the wife finds new strength in the fight to save her husband and her marriage.
Imogen Sage as Mrs de Winter transcends easily from the innocent bride to the spirited and profoundly strong woman whose steely determination saves her husband from the gallows.
As Maxim de Winter,Tristan Sturrock is typical of the 30’s aristocracy, capturing the emotional swings of Maxim culminating in some excellent dramatic scenes .
A great piece of drama even for those who are not regular theatregoers the production runs till 10th October.