THE IMPOSSIBLE IS ACHIEVED WITH THIS NEW PRODUCTION
I have never really been a fan of the works of Charles Dickens, only reading, or to be honest scanning through, a couple of the obligatory novels at school.
Yet his work, if it doesn’t depress you to read it, reflects the dark side of the era in which it was written – miserable, cruel and at times depraved.
So to adapt Great Expectations for the stage, a story that deals with abuse and the injustices of society is a daunting task.
However, with Michael Eaton’s magnificent adaptation, Lucy Bailey’s skilful direction and Mike Britton’s ingenious set design, the impossible has been achieved – the creation of an outstanding production of this Dickens work.
Great Expectations has 51 scenes and lasts three hours – yet there are few occasions were the story drags or becomes unduly stagnant.
The circular motion of the wooden revolve keeps the story seamless and flowing coupled with the imaginative lighting transformations to the backdrop. But its this dark revolve that reminds us of the prison ships moored in the estuary where Pip first meets Magwitch and which stays with us throughout the story.
Great Expectations is laced with some excellent characterizations from every cast member. Jane Asher’s Miss Havisham, is dark and sinister with an acid vindictiveness laced with an air of sweetness.
As Magwitch, Ian Burfield is rough and vicious yet a master of pathos in the later scenes displaying an amazing air of tenderness and feeling towards Pip.
Daniel Boyd’s adult Pip is so believable as he makes the change from a country apprentice to a London gentleman., yet he still manages to retain a childlike innocence amidst the rather dubious London gentry.
Great Expectations is a lengthy production but you’ll never get bored perhaps just a little stiff from sitting so long! Perhaps it would not have been a bad idea to chunk this production into three acts thus helping the audience’s concentration and making them a dam sight more comfortable in their seats.
Great Expectations run until April 2 at The West Yorkshire Playhou