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Review: Great Expectations is gothically lavish
WHEN watching Great Expectations at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre I was impressed by the sheer love and devotion which appeared to have gone into making this lavish and impressive production.
I am a big fan of Charles Dickens and this is probably my favourite novel of his so I had great expectations myself.
And in terms of the acting and the way it was staged I wasn't disappointed. The set does not change throughout- it stays as Miss Havisham's house- and we see an older Pip come onstage who then reminisces about his past, and we see the events unfold.
It stays quite true to the novel as it sees the orphan, Pip, meet an escaped convict who orders him to bring him food and a file for his leg iron.
Pip does just that but the convict is captured anyway. The story continues as Pip is taken to the haunting house of Miss Havisham where he meets the beautiful Estella and falls in love, but she scorns him for his lowly status.
Pip then finds himself come into money from a mysterious benefactor and he learns to be a gentleman, sometimes forgetting his old life and the friends he had made. It is an extremely powerful production and for me seemed slightly Tim Burton-esque.
It had a hugely gothic feel with exaggerated costumes and whitened faces. The actors moved around on stage like puppets with movements and eccentric voices.
It sometimes felt as if I was in a dark and grotesque nightmare but this was lightened by the humorous lines.
This style seems wholly appropriate to Charles Dickens' work and adds to the moral questions he asked. The cast were all brilliant so it would be unfair to pick out any one. T
he only problem I had was how the story is able to transfer to the stage.
It is such a great novel with so many different themes and places, I think it was hard to make it all fit.
But it did the best it could in two hours and it is worth going just to see how it has been eccentrically staged.
Great Expectations is at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre until November 3 at 7.30pm and a matinee on Saturday at 2.30pm. Tickets range from £10-£27 from 0844 8717607 or go to www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury