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Great Expectations

Date

31st January 2018

Society

Ashton Hayes Theatre Club

Venue

Storyhouse Theatre, Chester

Type of Production

Play

Adapted, Directed & Produced

Yvette Owen

Musical Director

Nick Montague

Report

Author: Christine Hunter Hughes

The story of Great Expectations is such a classic that the storyline really needs no explanation, but this production was a new adaptation, written by the Director of the play and features music and a (singing) chorus.

In this adaptation we meet all the major familiar characters, with a couple of additions the main one being that the play is semi-narrated by ‘Old Pip’ which worked really well and resulted in a very concise and very interesting and clear rendition of this great story.

The set was excellent, deceptively simple looking, but split over 3 to 4 different locations and on occasions time-lines as well, with a raised dais to represent the home of Miss Havisham.  Although there were no actual doors, a protocol for entrances and exits was established and maintained excellently across the whole production.  The split set was helped considerably by the excellent lighting which meant that the audience knew exactly which location their attention was focussed on.

The decision to set the play in the 1920’s worked really well, and the simply superb attention to detail with costumes and props was evident throughout the play.

Somewhat to my own surprise, I found that the singing did add to rather than detract from the story and was executed well.  Characterisation is vital in creating the illusion and it was obvious that the director had worked well with the cast in making their characters really work. I also applaud her skills in getting the pace and 'feel' of the play just right: nothing was forced or laboured, and I particularly appreciated the way in which the story was allowed to speak for itself. 

The acting throughout was very good across the whole cast with some excellent facial expressions and crisp clear diction and a special mention must go to the three young members of the cast who displayed some really excellent facial expressions and characterisations.   

Ashton Hayes Theatre Club are a brand new member of the NODA Family, and this production was an extremely enjoyable evening spent in the company of its obviously hugely talented members, and at the very new Storyhouse Theatre in Chester.  All I can say is a very big Thank you and I very much look forward to my next visit to your society with keen anticipation.