Linda Marlowe and James Swanton Star in Double-Bill at Trafalgar Studios, Beginning Tonight

Miss Havisham's Expectations and Sikes & Nancy will play Trafalgar Studios (Studio 2), 14 Whitehall, London SW1A 2DY from tonight 9th December 2014 to Saturday 3rd January 2015. Press Night: Friday 12th December, 7pm. These two London premieres, performed on the same evening at Trafalgar Studios, with Linda Marlowe (about to guest star in EastEnders) and James Swanton, are 'Dickens with a Difference'.

Award-winning actress Linda Marlowe (The World's Wife, Berkoff's Women) stars in Miss Havisham's Expectations as the iconic jilted bride 'Norma' Havisham, forever in her wedding dress alongside the stopped clock and untouched cake. Prepare to be amazed as she invites us to share her side of the story - a tale of passion, vengeance and more than a little magic.

The show, which had a successful run at the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe, is an original take on one of Dickens' best loved novels. Wrestling with love, loss and ageing our heroine replays episodes from the novel from her perspective - at times darkly funny as she explodes the stereotype with laudanum-fuelled relish. Drawing on the text of Great Expectations, biographical material from Dickens' own life and original material by writer-director Di Sherlock, Miss Havisham's Expectations is a roller-coaster ride through what it means to be a woman both then and now.

It is followed by Sikes & Nancy, a play adapted and performed by James Swanton based on the legendary readings Dickens himself used to give. Swanton, dressed entirely in black, enacts the compellingly and terrible story of Dickens' most famous murder. His tour-de-force performance of this masterpiece of Gothic melodrama sees him transform seamlessly from the revolting Fagin to the unfortunate Nancy; from the righteous Brownlow to the ferocious and terrifying Sikes. This bravura storytelling is exciting, dark, physical and brutish.

Charles Dickens adapted Sikes & Nancy from the grislier material in Oliver Twist. These notorious readings shocked audiences into silence; women would scream and faint. 'I shall tear myself to pieces,' Dickens vowed before one performance. In fact, it is now thought that the strain of the readings hastened Dickens' early death.

Miss Havisham's Expectations
Tuesday 9th December 2014 - Saturday 3rd January 2015 Monday to Saturday, 7.45pm
Matinees (variable days), 3pm
1 hour
@HavishamExpects, @TrafStudios, #dickensdouble

Sikes & Nancy
Tuesday 9th December 2014 - Saturday 3rd January 2015 Monday to Saturday, 9.15pm
Matinees (variable days), 4.30pm
1 hour
@sikesandnancy, @jamescswanton, @TheProdExch, @TrafStudios, #dickensdouble

Trafalgar Studios is located on Whitehall. The nearest underground stations are Charing Cross (on the Bakerloo and Northern lines), Embankment (on the Bakerloo, Northern, Circle and District lines), Westminster (on the Jubilee, Circle and District lines) and Leiceste Square (on the Northern and Piccadilly lines). The nearest rail station is Charing Cross.

Tickets are available priced £15 - £30 per show from Trafalgar Studios Box Office and, 0844 871 7632. See both shows and save up to £10.

Linda has enjoyed widespread acclaim for her extensive body of work. Theatre includes; Decadence, The Trial, Metamorphosis, Hamlet, Greek, Coriolanus (West End) directed by Steven Berkoff, Too Clever By Half and A Flea in Her Ear (Old Vic) directed by Richard Jones, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (Manchester Royal Exchange) directed by Greg Hersov, A Streetcar Named Desire (Sherman Theatre, Cardiff), Callas (Oldham Coliseum) directed by Paul Kerryson, Suddenly Last Summer directed by Ralph Koltai (Nottingham Playhouse), The Virtuoso, The Theban Trilogy and Twelfth Night (RSC), The Misanthrope (Young Vic) directed by Lindsay Posner, Goodbye To All That (Royal Court) directed by Simon Godwin, Mother Adam (Jermyn St Theatre) directed by Gene David Kirk and Dances of Death (Gate Theatre) in a new adaptation by Howard Brenton directed by Tom Littler. Solo Shows include; Berkoff's Women, No Fear, Mortal Ladies Possessed, Believe, The World's Wife and Miss Havisham's Expectations (West End and International tours). TV credits include; Floodtide, The Avengers,The Queens Arms,The Fear, The Ruth Rendell Mysteries, The Green Man (with Albert Finney), Lovejoy, Love Hurts, Class Act, She's Out, Silent Witness, Dalziel and Pascoe, Midsomer Murders, Spooks, Family, Foyles War,Jekyll,IShouldn'tBeAlive,TheBorgiasandTheGuilty. Mostrecentlysheappearedin Houdini an American two-part TV Drama with Adrien Brody. Film credits include; Big Zapper, Beckett, The Man Outside, Tamlyn, Manifesto, Mr Love, The House Of Mirth, Day of the Dead, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Wedding Video.

Di Sherlock - Di started out as an actor and has worked extensively in theatre, multimedia performance and TV where appearances included Holby City and Doctors. She was also regular, Oona, on the remake of Crossroads. She now mainly writes and directs. Her script/libretto Services No Longer Required, commissioned by BBC Philharmonic, will be broadcast live in October as part of the BBC's WW1 commemorations. Other writing and directing work includes OMGO vid Unplugged! for Youth Music Theatre, The World's Wife adapted from Carol Ann Duffy for Linda Marlowe (Trafalgar Studios, UK tour), Songs from the Bridgewater Canal and Salford Tales for BBC Philharmonic, The Pool Game (Yorkshire touring & London), Naciketa for Opera Circus (Opera North, Royal Opera House), Inferno (Birmingham University), Putting on the Glitz and The Bard's Ball site-specific contemporary circus (Comic Relief) and Elizabeth the Virgin Queen (The City of London Festival). She also writes for younger audiences - her 'musical murder mystery' Who Killed Ramona Rhapsody toured schools and music centres and was broadcast on BBC Radio 3. It has subsequently been translated into Dutch and German. Di has just published Come Into The Garden a cycle of poems chronicling her journey with her late parents through cancer and dementia.

James Swanton - James has been performing Sikes & Nancy for over two years. Previously, it has played such venues as York Theatre Royal Imaginarium, the Mercury Theatre, Colchester and Cambridge's Corpus Playroom. Sikes & Nancy is James's third one-man play, following his performances as Quasimodo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame and twenty-two Dickens characters in Pickwick & Nickleby. Last December, James played Marley's Ghost (and eleven others) in Scrooge & Marley (Waterloo East Theatre), his two-man adaptation of A Christmas Carol with George Fouracres. His West End credits include In the Penal Colony (Arts Theatre) and the 2012 Marlowe Showcase (Actors' Church, Covent Garden) under the direction of Max Stafford-Clark. James is an Artistic Associate of Dippermouth, an Old Marlovian and an award-winning veteran of The York Dungeon. He is now developing two new one-man plays: a version of Frankenstein and a piece based on the life of Henry Irving.

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