What Larks! GREAT EXPECTATIONS Comes To The Belgrade Theatre
Tilted Wig Productions take on Charles Dickens' classic story of money, mystery and social mobility at the Belgrade Theatre
One of the best loved novels in English literary history will come to life on stage this spring when Malvern Theatres and Tilted Wig Productions bring their gripping retelling of Great Expectations to the Belgrade Theatre next month.
Running in Coventry 2-5 Mayas part of a wider UK tour, this new adaptation by Ken Bentley is performed by a dynamic cast of five, with quick-fire costume changes, a stylised set and live music by Ollie King resulting in a pacy and engaging retelling.
Following a terrifying encounter with an escaped convict out on the Kent marshes near his home, blacksmith's boy Pip (Séan Aydon) is offered an unexpected chance to "better himself" with regular visits to the reclusive local gentlewoman Miss Havisham (Nichola McAuliffe).
In the decaying grandeur of her imposing house, this spectral lady remains frozen in time, eaten up by personal betrayal and determined to wreak revenge on the entire male sex. It's in these eerie surroundings that Pip is encouraged to fall in love with Miss Havisham's cruel, conceited protégée, Estella (Isla Carter) - only to be suddenly sent away from the house with just a small sum of money and an aching heart to show for it.
Yet before long, Pip receives a surprise windfall when an anonymous benefactor sends word that he is to head to London and become a gentleman. Eagerly bidding goodbye to his childhood home, Pip moves to the bustling city to live alongside its educated elite and pursue his dream of winning Estella's heart.
But all is not what it seems, and the truth about Pip's great expectations proves stranger than he could ever have imagined...
Ranking among Charles Dickens' most famous and widely read novels, this classic story of social mobility first appeared in serialised form between 1860 and 1861. Now, more than a century and a half later, it remains a perennial favourite with schools, universities and casual readers alike, its themes of class division, unrequited love and "the stupendous power of money" resonating down the generations.
Taking on the ambitious task of condensing Dickens' lengthy novel into a two and half hour show, this lively reimagining sees all the characters performed by a small but versatile cast, including Séan Aydon, Isla Carter, Edward Ferrow, Richard Earl and Olivier Award winner Nichola McAuliffe.
Best known for her roles in the long-running TV series Surgical Spirit and in the films Chéri and Tomorrow Never Dies, McAuliffe has also gained a reputation for impressive stage performances in the likes of Kiss Me Kate for the RSC, Alan Bennett's The Lady in the Van, and The Night of the Iguana in the West End.
Formed by actors Katherine Senior and Matthew Parish in 2017, Tilted Wig Productions emphasises creative collaboration and ensemble work, the two founders assembling a vibrant, hard-working and innovative creative team for each production they stage. Great Expectations is their first co-production with Malvern Theatres.
Director Sophie Boyce Couzens said: "For this production, we have assembled a company of actors who are excellent collaborators, as an ability and desire to play and contribute ideas is essential for a production such as this where the story is mammoth and the challenge is to ensure playful clarity."
Great Expectations runs at the Belgrade Theatre from Wednesday 2 until Saturday 5 May. Tickets are available to book now by calling the box office on 024 7655 3055 or visiting www.belgrade.co.uk, where prices are even cheaper.