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Posted: Wednesday 15 February, 2017
On Tuesday 14th February, Next Stage Youth's epic production of Great Expectations opened to a packed audience. The highly-talented young cast took the audience on a journey from the moody Kentish moors, through the spectral splendour of Satis House, to the dark depths of Victorian London, accompanied by atmospheric lighting and sound effects, lavish Victorian costumes and haunting music. Audience reactions from the evening were excellent:
"I enjoyed GE last night, and thought the cast managed a challenging play with exceptional focus and maturity"
"Superb performances by all this talented cast (and I look forward to seeing the other cast on Friday) with excellent confidence, delivery, tone, acting, reaction and singing and dancing to boot! This really was premier league youth drama!"
Philip Horton, reviewing for the Bath Chronicle, said:
"What larks with Pip, Estella, Joe Gargery, Herbert Pocket, Miss Havisham, Jaggers and, of course, the hard done by villain, Abel Magwich. Was there ever a story with more twists, turns and coincidences than Great Expectations?
Humble country boy Pip (star turn from late replacement Georges Boutin as the young Pip) goes up to the big house and is dazzled by Estella with her heart of stone. “Moths and all sorts of ugly creatures hover about a lighted candle,” she tells him, “Can the candle help it?”
Encouraged by Miss Havisham to break mens’ hearts in revenge for herself being jilted at the altar, Estella proceeds to do just that. Then Pip comes into money with great expectations but no knowledge of his benefactor.
It’s a non-stop gallop through Dickens’ complicated moral plot with a huge cast, minimal scenery, great sound effects and lighting.
Pale, damaged Miss Havisham (a superb Olivia Anniss) dominates any scene and is the central character as much as Pip (slender, effective Anthony Harwood).
Never less than gripping, it’s a thoroughly well told tale, with no weak links in the young cast, which played to a deserved full house on the opening night."
All in all, it was a very successful opening night for the highly-acclaimed Next Stage Youth Theatre Company. There are still five performances to go, but tickets are running out fast. So get yours now by calling Next Stage on 01225 428600 or from the Bath Box Office 01225 463362.