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Arts

Dickens’ Great Expectations at Theatre by the Lake

Séan Aydon (Pip) and Isla Carter (Estella). Photography by Lisa Roberts

[L]overs of Charles Dickens’ books are in for a treat this Easter with an adaptation of Great Expectations showing at Theatre by the Lake from 10 to 14 April. Produced by Tilted Wig Productions and Malvern Theatres, and touring nationally, the production features well-known TV actress Nichola McAuliffe in the role of Miss Havisham.

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 becoming part of the educated elite.

Peopled by some of Dickens’ most colourful and memorable characters and painted in rich, vivid colour this new production promises a powerful and theatrical telling of Dickens’ universally loved masterpiece. The play’s underlying message of friendship, loyalty and conscience being more important than social advancement, wealth and class, make the play just as relevant today as when it was written and accounts for its enduring popularity.

Olivier Award-winning actress Nichola McAuliffe is best known for her role in the long-running TV series Surgical Spirit, the films Tomorrow Never Dies and Chéri, and for her many stage appearances including Kiss Me Kate for the RSC, The Night of the Iguana in the West End and Alan Bennett’s The Lady in the Van.

The cast also includes Séan Aydon (Pip), Isla Carter (Estella), Edward Ferrow (Joe Gargery) and Richard Earl (Jaggers/Pumblechook).

Director Sophie Boyce Couzens said: “Great Expectations is so well-known and well-loved that audiences will have their own preconceptions of what they are going to see. This is daunting, but it’s also what made this such an exciting process as we looked for our own way of telling this story. The incredible ensemble of nine play almost thirty characters between them and bring a fantastic energy to the production.

It’s great to hear from audiences about how inventive and imaginative the performances are, and it’s been lovely to see the play performed in such beautiful venues.”

Great Expectations is showing in Theatre by the Lake’s Main House from 10 to 14 April, with tickets from £10 to £36. To find out more call the Box Office on 017687 74411 or visit www.theatrebythelake.com.

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