Miss Havisham’s Expectations, Trafalgar Studios. Review by Julia Pascal.

 

As an antidote to the Christmas schlock, this one woman show is a great relief.  Di Sherlock has written and directed a thrilling performance piece for Linda Marlowe.  Pulled out from Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, this is an astounding vision Miss Havisham in her own right.

Sherlock’s drama is part of a feminist writing tradition that explores a character out of context of the main text.  Virginia Woolf did it with Shakespeare’s Sister in her essay A Room of One’s Own.   Jean Rhys followed.  She imagined the first Mrs Rochester’s life released from Charlotte Bronte’s novel Jane Eyre in her 1966 book Wide Saragossa Sea.  Nancy Meckler’s company Shared Experience took this into theatre investigation with Polly Teale’s After Mrs Rochester.  What unites Mrs Rochester and Miss Havisham is the feminist study of madness.  Both women were rejected respectively by husband and fiancé.

Linda Marlowe is a feisty Havisham who dances, rails and flirts with bravado and charisma.  Her performance is charismatic.  My only quibble was the inclusion of clips of other Dickens characters which seemed extraneous.  Linda Marlowe was enough to fill the stage and excite the audience in this freshly-imagined theatre fantasy.

Produced by Julie Claire for One Spirit Productions.

Julia Pascal © December 2014.