Great Expectations

Shifting Sands Theatre Company
Unity Theatre
28th March 2006

Reviewed by Helen Grey

When faced with the prospect of watching a comedy version of Dickens’ classic ‘Great Expectations’, I have to admit I was a little skeptical, but fortunately Shifting Sands managed to pull it off. The entire story stayed true to the original text, and was told by just three very talented actors: Gerry Flanagan, Dennis Herdman and Sophie Russell. Through the use of various props and costumes the actors interchanged roles to tell the story of Pip, as he tries to change his humble background and become a gentleman to win the hand of Miss Havisham’s ward Estella.

I am not normally a fan of the kind of obvious slapstick comedy which was used throughout this production, but the three actors performed together in such a tight but relaxed way that it really worked to pull the play together. The chemistry that existed between the actors was most clear when they improvised due to small prop difficulties. This resulted in not only the audience but also the actors themselves being reduced to fits of laughter. The actors played directly to the audience and even raised the house lights at certain points, to produce a truly unique performance.

This company managed to take an author that many think of as outdated and longwinded, and adapt his work to produce a lively, humorous but also touching performance.

Printer friendly page