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Expect an enjoyable night at Great Expectations

Tilted Wig Productions with Malvern Theatres at the Exeter Northcott, June 2018
Review by India Nye

It’s the Dicken’s classic story of romance, class and personal growth. The journey of Pip from poor boy of the marshes to a gentleman about London. Great Expectations.

Isla Carter plays Estella, Pip’s love interest, with such grace. It’s a deeply complicated character and the performance is such that it that makes you change your opinion on her frequently as the play progresses. You don’t know who the true Estella is until the final minutes.

James Camp is Herbert, among other characters, endearing and kind, and balancing perfectly the multiple roles he’s given. Eliza Colling wowed, flicking between juxtaposing roles of evil Mrs Jo and kind-hearted Biddy. The multi-roleing is expertly done.

Nichola Aucliffe, the big draw-in for audiences (Surgical Spirit and Tomorrow Never Diesare among her TV and film credits), plays the infamous and iconic Miss Havisham, and is incredible, dynamic and passionate. Yet she isn’t nearly on stage enough, meaning her influence is not emphasised enough, so characters reactions of subsequent plot developments. A theme which weaves itself through the entire play. 

The use of sound elevated the piece, so you don’t feel bored or that it feels like one note, which can sometimes be the case with plot heavy Dickens. The actors get inventive using random items to create rain or birds chirping, adding realism to the piece on an abstract set. The use of stage is outstanding, with trapdoors and ladders making a dynamic and exciting visual experience.

Great Expectations brings a great level of performance, atmosphere and ensemble work but just misses the mark when it comes to poignant scenes. In parts it’s intriguing, in parts it’s a little lacklustre.

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