Performed at the URC, Pond Square, Highgate 23-26 July 2014
and Minack Theatre on the cliffs at Portcurno 8-12 September 2014
Pip – Jonah Maddox Abel Magwitch – Adam Baxter Miss Havisham – Jane Jones Mr Jaggers – Graham Sawtell Estella – Sal Fulcher Hebert Pocket – Mike Summerfield Joe Gargery – Guy Muneesamy Mrs Joe – Lisa Paterson Uncle Pumblechook – Colin Joseph Biddy – Katrina Bonds John Wemmick – Peter Franklyn* The Aged P – John Savage Sarah Pocket – Margaret Johnson Bentley Drummel – Matt Jones* Other characters were played by members of the company
(*First time performer with Theatre in the Square)
It took nearly two years to put together from the time we chose Great Expectations as our Minack 2014 production to the get-in at the Minack Theatre at the beginning of September of that year.
As with any theatrical production there were highs and lows, problems and solutions, triumphs and troubles. But we had a great script based on the best novel of a much loved author and a great cast and crew gave the best possibilities for success.
It was director Robert Alderman's directorial debut at Minack, which was a daunting prospect given the group's pedigree at Cornwall's foremost theatrical venue, but his experience as actor and director with the group and elsewhere stood him in good stead. His adaptation of Dickens' novel was not his first but it was the most comprehensive and complex so far. It was much appreciated by cast and audiences alike, as it faithfully reproduced the story for the stage.
There was much hard work put in by cast and crew in getting the play on the stage in both London and at Minack.
John Savage headed the set builders, who amongst other things produced the four doors that were a feature of the London set. Graham Chestney stage managed both sets of performances assisted by Kate Frycz, Linda Shannon and Tulin Penny. The episodic nature of the play kept them busy changing the set. Raphael Ndem managed the complex sound and lighting plot in London, handing over the lighting to Simon Hutchings in Cornwall. The sound effects, music and lighting were integral to recreating the atmosphere so distinctly described in the novel.
The cast threw themselves into their roles. There were some great portrayals which brought Dicken's characters to life. Pip, Mr Jaggers, Miss Havisham and Magwitch are among the best known people in Dickens' novels. In the hands of Jonah Maddox, Graham Sawtell, Jane Jones and Adam Baxter, we saw first class performances. Jonah in particular was commended as he barely left the stage through out the show and drove the dramatic narrative of the story with charm, candour and courage. It was a creditable feat for his second acting role. The rest of the cast were equally stellar in supporting Pip's journey from mistreated boy to troubled gentleman.
Linda Shannon put in an unexpected appearance in the final performance, appearing for the indisposed Margaret Johnson. She put on a faultless performance and few would have guessed that this was achieved with just a few hours' notice and half an hour's rehearsal. Overall both sets of performances were a rousing success. At Minack we played to over 4,000 people (including several full houses). It was pleasing to see the terraces crammed full of people. While we were all enjoying the late spell of warm weather, the evenings were cold in the prevailing wind but this did not put off the enthusiastic audiences.