Great Expectations, The Playground Theatre - ★★★ - Until December 29, 2019


Adapting Dickens' to the theatre is always a challenge. His plots which are convoluted, to say the least, may work over a few hundred pages of a novel, but they usually require a lot of undramatic exposition in the theatre. The multitude of eccentric characters that populate the novels simply cannot all be squeezed onto the stage and paring is inevitable. In this production we lost Uncle Pumblechook. And then there is Dickens' wonderfully descriptive prose which is hard to bring into the play format. Here we lost the iconic last line of the novel: "I saw no shadow of another parting from her." Faced with all these issues, Lydia Vie who adapted Great Expectations for this production has done a credible job. What has been emphasised is the atmosphere of Dickens' work which Eirini Kariori's set captures quite wonderfully. The central piece of Miss Havisham's table with her sitting atop it is delightfully grotesque and effectively used throughout. Helen Bang as Miss Havisham gives a thoroughly enjoyable and totally over the top performance which dominates the show. The story which is basically about young people being manipulated by an older generation seeking personal or social vengeance is one of Dickens' darker works and originally did not have the happy ending his editor demanded. This production does a good job of catching those dark notes and bringing the audience into the author's gloomy world of false and failed expectations.

Reviewed by J.C.

 Our Score:  ☆☆☆ 

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WHEN, WHERE, GETTING THERE:
Until December 29, 2019
Mon - Sun: 7:30 pm (except Dec 19, 24 & 25)
Wed & Sat: 2:30 pm (except Dec 25)
The Playground Theatre
Nearest station: Latimer Road
https://theplaygroundtheatre.london/events/great-expectations/

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