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Lady Chatterley’s Lover
February 25th - February 29th
When Clifford Chatterley returns from the war a wounded hero, his young bride Connie does her best to care for him. Neglected and alone, she instigates a love affair with the gamekeeper, Mellors, a relationship that bridges the social divide and challenges convention. In touch, they find the simplest of truths. In lust, they risk the greatest of scandals.
Lawrence’s most sensual of novels was first published in 1928, but only in 1960 did an uncensored version become available, leading to one of the most famous trials of the century. Tender, thoughtful and impassioned, Lady Chatterley’s Loveris the book that changed Britain.
This production contains material of an adult nature. An age guide of 14+ is suggested.
Running time: approx. 2 hours 20 minutes, including interval.
Production photographs by Luke Varley
Choice Radio Worcester
For a relatively young theatre company, Tilted Wig has been prolific in bringing classic plays to Malvern, recent productions being Our Man In Havana, Travels With My Aunt, Great Expectations, The Picture of Dorian Gray and Murder, Margaret and Me, each being given their own unique slant.
So expectations were high for their latest venture - David Herbert Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover. To say that this book was controversial would be an understatement. These days it is perhaps hard to understand that the written word would be banned as little as 60 years ago and there was clearly a thirst for it as, in spite of the prosecution asking whether it was a book that "you would wish your servants to read", the lifting of the ban gave it sales of 2 million copies within a month. Sex sells, as they say.
Bringing the play to the touring stage presents its own problems, such as how much it has to be condensed to fit into a little over 2 hours and how explicit it can be to remain "acceptable" to a modern audience so some level of self-censorship must implicitly remain with regards to what is left in and what is taken out. In the event, the action takes place on a single set and, maybe somewhat surprisingly, it is a battlefield, representing the scenario that caused Major Clifford Chatterley to lose the use of the lower part of his body. This location when used to represent the house, hut and cottage is particularly appropriate as, although the Great War has ended, other battles continues on many levels, social, political, sexual .
Phoebe Marshall and Mark Hawkins play the Chatterleys who gradually move apart from each other and Rupert Hill (Coronation Street's Jamie Baldwin) plays gamekeeper Oliver Mellors, a decent, intelligent hardworking man who also returned from the war to find his world turned upside down. No longer able to trust - even love - anyone, his relationship with Lady Chatterley, of a different class and with different needs, seems doomed from the start, class being one of the battlefields raised by Lawrence. For whilst Lady Chatterley appears to have few issues with it, others are not quite so accepting, particularly her husband. Then there is the fact that the Chatterleys need an heir, now unlikely to come from the Master of the house, which gives Constance free reign to provide one, another area which would have shaken society at the time. A possible trip to Italy provides a potential opportunity but events intervene.
The story is "narrated" by some of the Major's colleagues, lost on the battlefield and providing a ghostly commentary on the events unfolding in front of them.
Tilted Wig have done an excellent job in bringing the play to the stage and quite likely to a new audience too. As expected, the acting is excellent and the use of music throughout adds a dramatic impact. And the show certainly starts with a bang too! The uniqueness of the company's productions extends even to the programme, cleverly designed to look like the book itself.
The company will be back later in the year with a completely different type of show - William Wycherley's outrageous classic comedy, The Country Wife.
Thoroughly enjoyed this imaginatively produced and finely acted play. The cast were very versatile, well cast and performed extremely well.
Disappointing attendance from the Malvern Theatre goers and certainly deserved more than one curtain call.
Very well acted disappointed not many people upstairs In circle very enjoyable evening thank u
I really enjoyed this production. I liked the way the set represented the conflict on the battlefield, then as it continued in the Chatterley’s home and in the cottage. I thought the acting was excellent. The social and sexual issues were dealt with in a very appropriate way and illustrated clearly the constraints and contradictions of the era in which the book was set with regard to these matters. Congratulations to all concerned!