Pros: Linda Marlowe’s fearless performance as a simultaneously sad, pitiful and ferocious Miss Havisham.
Cons: The story had no clear purpose, focusing too much on Dickens’ original and not really providing a new perspective.
This tale depicts a jilted bride who stops the clocks and refuses to move on except in her mind, where she plots horrific revenges for her former lover. Charles Dickens’ Miss Havisham is a fascinating character who simultaneously evokes pity and scorn. In Linda Marlowe’s one-woman show, Miss Havisham becomes the protagonist of the story rather than the side character, and the events leading up to her smouldering demise are told from her perspective.
Wearing a torn and stained white wedding dress that resembles a shroud rather than a festive garment, Miss Havisham recounts how her fiancé Freddie left her on their wedding day. Beside herself with grief and anger, she brought up the orphan Estella as her daughter, teaching her to be cold and cruel to wreck men’s hearts, but without anticipating that these lessons would one day affect Miss Havisham herself.
Linda Marlowe’s performance is outstanding. She obviously takes great delight in the complex role, switching from calculating and cruel to grief-stricken and furious in seconds. Her Miss Havisham is genuinely terrifying and pitiful, but despite this fearless performance, the show never really takes off. In some ways, it seemed to me as though Miss Havisham is caught in Dickens’ (whom she sarcastically calls Sir Dick) story and is not able to escape, recounting his ideas rather than expanding on them. Two magical tricks, despite being executed with bravura, and an impressive dance-scene only confuse the narration and do nothing to solidify the story. That said, I did enjoy the poetic language and the clever use of projections, and any Dickens enthusiasts will enjoy the frequent references to his various wonderful characters.
Writer: Charles Dickens, Di Sherlock
Director: Di Sherlock
Producer: One Spirit Productions & Tim Johanson Productions
Booking Link: http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/miss-havishams-expectations/trafalgar-studios/
Running Until: 3 January 2015