Skip to main content

Great Expectations

Dundee Rep
Five stars

It is a bleak and austere house that Pip and Estella find themselves in at the opening and close of Jemima Levick's production of Charles Dickens' classic treatise on class, power and the perils of having ideas above one's station. Using Jo Clifford's original 1987 adaptation which has continually regenerated over the last three decades, Levick has utilised the script's rich and brutal poetry to create a magnificent and stately piece of darkly comic gothica that retains its period lyricism while becoming a profoundly pertinent play for today.

As a role-call of grotesques step through the walls of empty picture frames where still lives were once captured on Becky Minto's set, Pip is thrust from a poor provincial existence to the mysterious wonders of Miss Havisham's loveless parlour before being whisked off to London where he learns the ways of the world.

“If they do cut your throat,” says lawyer's clerk Wemmick to Pip of the human detritus around them as they bustle their way through the big city streets, “it is because they believe they can make a profit from it.” In a world where property is worth more than people and a gentleman is higher than everyone else, profit is all that counts.

What Levick does in this co-production between Dundee Rep Ensemble and the Perth based Horsecross Arts organisation is create an elaborate impressionistic dance that moves at a stately pace beneath the stark shadowplay of Mike Robertson's lighting but which never loses clarity. This is pulsed by a powerful piano score played live by David Paul Jones, who also weaves exquisitely moody arrangements of several contemporary songs into the mix.

Levick's eight-strong cast never put a foot wrong, with company veterans Emily Winter and, as a wraith-like Miss Havisham, Ann Louise Ross, rarely better. David Delve, John Macauley, Antony Strachan and Sally Reid are equally unforgettable. It is Millie Turner as the emotionally strangled Estella and especially Thomas Cotran as Pip, however, who carry this thrilling but troubling evocation of the everyday tragedies caused by one wrong turn.
 
The Herald, June 8th 2015


ends




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Big Gold Dreams – A Story of Scottish Independent Music 1977-1989

Disc 1 1. THE REZILLOS (My Baby Does) Good Sculptures (12/77)  2. THE EXILE Hooked On You (8/77) 3. DRIVE Jerkin’ (8/77) 4. VALVES Robot Love (9/77) 5. P.V.C. 2 Put You In The Picture (10/77) 6. JOHNNY & THE SELF ABUSERS Dead Vandals (11/77) 7. BEE BEE CEE You Gotta Know Girl (11/77) 8. SUBS Gimme Your Heart (2/78) 9. SKIDS Reasons (No Bad NB 1, 4/78) 10. FINGERPRINTZ Dancing With Myself (1/79)  11. THE ZIPS Take Me Down (4/79) 12. ANOTHER PRETTY FACE All The Boys Love Carrie (5/79)  13. VISITORS Electric Heat (5/79) 14. JOLT See Saw (6/79) 15. SIMPLE MINDS Chelsea Girl (6/79) 16. SHAKE Culture Shock (7/79) 17. HEADBOYS The Shape Of Things To Come (7/79) 18. FIRE EXIT Time Wall (8/79) 19. FREEZE Paranoia (9/79) 20. FAKES Sylvia Clarke (9/79) 21. TPI She’s Too Clever For Me (10/79) 22. FUN 4 Singing In The Showers (11/79) 23. FLOWERS Confessions (12/79) 24. TV21 Playing With Fire (4/80) 25. ALEX FERGUSSON Stay With Me Tonight (1980) 1. THE REZILL

Losing Touch With My Mind - Psychedelia in Britain 1986-1990

DISC 1 1. THE STONE ROSES   -  Don’t Stop 2. SPACEMEN 3   -  Losing Touch With My Mind (Demo) 3. THE MODERN ART   -  Mind Train 4. 14 ICED BEARS   -  Mother Sleep 5. RED CHAIR FADEAWAY  -  Myra 6. BIFF BANG POW!   -  Five Minutes In The Life Of Greenwood Goulding 7. THE STAIRS  -  I Remember A Day 8. THE PRISONERS  -  In From The Cold 9. THE TELESCOPES   -  Everso 10. THE SEERS   -  Psych Out 11. MAGIC MUSHROOM BAND  -  You Can Be My L-S-D 12. THE HONEY SMUGGLERS  - Smokey Ice-Cream 13. THE MOONFLOWERS  -  We Dig Your Earth 14. THE SUGAR BATTLE   -  Colliding Minds 15. GOL GAPPAS   -  Albert Parker 16. PAUL ROLAND  -  In The Opium Den 17. THE THANES  -  Days Go Slowly By 18. THEE HYPNOTICS   -  Justice In Freedom (12" Version) 1. THE STONE ROSES    Don’t Stop ( Silvertone   ORE   1989) The trip didn’t quite start here for what sounds like Waterfall played backwards on The Stone Roses’ era-defining eponymous debut album, but it sounds

Carla Lane – The Liver Birds, Mersey Beat and Counter Cultural Performance Poetry

Last week's sad passing of TV sit-com writer Carla Lane aged 87 marks another nail in the coffin of what many regard as a golden era of TV comedy. It was an era rooted in overly-bright living room sets where everyday plays for today were acted out in front of a live audience in a way that happens differently today. If Lane had been starting out now, chances are that the middlebrow melancholy of Butterflies, in which over four series between 1978 and 1983, Wendy Craig's suburban housewife Ria flirted with the idea of committing adultery with successful businessman Leonard, would have been filmed without a laughter track and billed as a dramady. Lane's finest half-hour highlighted a confused, quietly desperate and utterly British response to the new freedoms afforded women over the previous decade as they trickled down the class system in the most genteel of ways. This may have been drawn from Lane's own not-quite free-spirited quest for adventure as she moved through h