Hi everyone, I’m back with another review!
After the fun and laughter of ‘They Don’t Pay, We Won’t Pay’ comes another classic story by Charles Dickens. The Mercury Theatre in Colchester kindly invited me to their press night of ‘Great Expectations’. I haven’t very read or watched this in films so I had no idea what it was about, but `I had heard of the story of course.
‘Great Expectations’ tells the story of Pipe a country boy orphan who was adopted by his sister and her husband Joe. Joe is a blacksmith so he and Pipe have a close relationship. One day Pipe is called to go and see Miss Havisham and to play with Miss Havisham’s adopted daughter Estella. Years later Pipe comes into a wealth of money and becomes a gentlemen of London. Once there Pipe’s life starts to unravel and things don’t seem to end right for him.
I thoroughly enjoyed the show! I went into this show knowing nothing about the story so I really enjoyed it! There was so much drama and scandal that you could help but be focused on the story. The cast was amazing and they all told the story brilliantly. Some had more than one character to play others only had one. In some scenes you would feel the tension, fear or worry that that particular character was feeling, everyone did a fantastic job! I feel like however I need to mention both Stanton Wright (Pip) and Emily Pollet (Miss Havisham). When had scenes together you could feel a sense of bond and friendly affection between them particularly when had scenes which just the two of them. Brilliantly played by the cast!
I found various points of the show to be quite dark. Even when I walked into the auditorium I found it to be darker than usual so was a struggle to find the right seat. Luckily my mum had come along to this show so she was able to help me out. But I would have either struggled but found the seat eventually, asked a member of the public or asked a staff member to get around this situation otherwise. I can defiantly understand why the theatre might have wanted it a little darker to keep with the atmosphere on stage. But I found this to be a little difficult. On the subject of lighting, Quite a fair few number of the scenes within the show, are in quite a dark/gloomy setting. I guess this is to be keep in with the setting of a smoggy London, But there were times when I struggled to see some of the scenes or the characters. But there were also times when the characters were lit up by light, either by a spotlight or an orange light coming from the floor of the stage to imitate fire, which I thought was a lovely idea and a great touch. But keep in mind that ninety per cent of the show is in very low lighting, and most of the characters’ costumes are in very dull colours to keep in with the period. So have this in mind if you would like to come and see this show.
Each character was very distinguishable either through their change in costume or mostly through their change in voice. I was very impressed with the way nearly all of the cast could their voices to sound like they were in different parts of the country.
I would also recommend you get a decent seat, as there is very little set design with some costumes being similar colours to the background, if you had low vision you will want to be able to see as much as you can. There are a few physical scenes but only one very dramatic scene, but this is helped by a light and crowd of people but still quite a dark scene, so if you want to see the show comfortably I would suggest getting a seat in Row E or near if possible.
There is an accessible tour touch performance on the last date of the show’s run at 2.30 pm. The Mercury Theatre are excellent. They are very in-depth, they have some of the props and costumes you can feel and touch along with the set. If possible some of the cast will come and talk to you about their character and what is in store without spoiling the show. Would highly recommend going to the touch tour if you can.
Having gone into this show not knowing anything about the plot or story, I can say I thoroughly enjoy the show immensely! I would recommend anyone go and see this show. As I said above, if you have low vision, there might be times when you will struggle in certain scenes, but most of the show is dialogue, so you miss very little of the show. If you can blind or have little to no useful vision, then I would say of course try and get the touch tour and Audio Described performance on the last day of the show if you can. But if for some reason you can’t, then I honestly feel you will miss out on very little and will still enjoy the show anyway because of the amazing cast!
‘Great Expectations’ is running at The Mercury Theatre in Colchester from 18th – 27th May 2023! If you wish to get tickets for this show, you can find the link to the show’s information page on the theatre’s website by clicking here.
Until Next Time,
The VI Critic
One thought on “Charles Dickens – ‘Great Expectations’ Adapted By Gale Childs-Daly”
Sounds like a great play!