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February 8th - February 17th
Tilted Wig Productions and Malvern Theatres present
by Charles Dickens
Adapted by Ken Bentley
With Nichola McAuliffe as Miss Havisham
Director – Sophie Boyce Couzens
Designer – James Turner
Lighting Designer – Richard Williamson
The team who delighted audiences here with Travels with my Aunt in 2015 and Our Man in Havana this summer are back with Dickens’s timeless classic in a powerful new stage adaptation
Following a terrifying encounter with an escaped convict, young Pip is given an unexpected chance to better himself by visiting the reclusive and mysterious Miss Havisham. In the decaying grandeur of her house, Pip falls in love with Estella and helped by an anonymous benefactor, he moves to the bustling city to pursue his dream of winning Estella’s heart and of becoming part of the educated elite.
Peopled by some of Dickens’s most colourful and memorable characters and painted in rich, vivid colours across a vast landscape of people and locations, this stunning new version promises a powerful and theatrical telling of Dickens’s universally loved masterpiece.
Olivier Award-winning actress, Nichola McAuliffe, leads the cast as the iconic Miss Havisham. Nichola is best known for her role in the long running TV series, Surgical Spirit, the films Tomorrow Never Dies and Chéri and her many stage appearances including Kiss Me Kate for the RSC, The Night of the Iguana in the West End & Alan Bennett’s The Lady in the Van.
There will be a relaxed performance of Great Expectations
on Friday 16th February at 1pm.
Relaxed performances are specifically designed for people who find regular performance settings challenging. We extend a warm welcome to people who feel overwhelmed by the ordinary performance environment. These relaxed performances are open to ANYONE who would benefit from a relaxed, non-judgemental atmosphere including (but not limited to) people living with dementia; people with an Autism Spectrum Condition; people with learning difficulties; people with sensory or communication difficulties; parents with young babies; and anyone who feels they would benefit from a more supportive and inclusive theatre-going experience. Relaxed performance: All seats £10.08 (Carers half price). Book via the Box Office: 01684 892277
Rehearsal Photographs by Ellie Kurttz
A bit of a treat at Malvern Theatres with a show which is actually a co-production between themselves and Tilted Wig Productions, whose producers have recently had successes with Our Man In Havana and Travels With My Aunt. For their first collaboration, the company has chosen Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, with Nichola McAuliffe as the central character Miss Faversham, dressed and quite scarily made up as you have never seen her before as circumstances dictate that she has not seen the sun for many a year…
With the story itself encompassing many locations, multiple characters (often with Dickens' trademark names such as Pumblechook and Magwitch) and a long time span, the trick here was to get this achieved by a relatively small cast of 8, plus a musician, portraying more than 2 dozen characters. So the set itself needed to be a simple device – it is basically a large wood and metal box which converts easily to become the various rooms and imagined outdoor locations with a side area where a range of clever sound effects are produced. Into this are woven the themes of wealth and poverty, crime, abandonment, love and jealousy as Pip makes his journey into a different world courtesy of a mysterious benefactor.
The three decades in which the story takes place means that young Pip (or Philip or Pirrip or Handel…), first seen at the graves of his parents and then seemingly taken in hand by Miss Haversham, needs to age substantially by the time he revisits the graves at the end and Sean Aydon manages to do this without any confusion (though with the other actors each playing multiple characters, you do have to pay attention to who they are portraying at any given moment!)
Unusually, the play is being staged over two weeks, three nights per week, Thursday, Friday and Saturday only. So if you missed it this week, you have another chance next week
One of the actors returning to the Malvern stage is James Dinsmore who was here a few months ago for Graham Greene's Our Man In Havana. You can hear the interview which we did with James here:
A superb production and a great talented cast. I was fascinated by the set, and although it didn't change or move, thought the cast managed what appeared to be a small contained space really well. I did smile at some of the sound effects, though!
As expected, a polished performance by Nichola McAuliffe, who never disappoints. I did notice the odd 'Sabbatini' tone creep in now and then, which was very endearing!
A pleasure to see this not to be missed production, and I particularly liked the occasional injection of humour, which is not easy with Dickens.