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by Matthew Francis (adapted from the book by Charles Dickens)
years Wimborne Drama seems to have cornered the market in epic dramas,
and this latest production can only enhance the company's already strong
DON'T know how they're going to do it on stage," a friend remarked upon
learning that Wimborne Drama's latest production at the Tivoli was David
Copperfield. Well, I have to say that they did it, and did it very well.
Who couldn't be charmed by the young David played with aplomb by Fred Tyson-Brown or impressed by Richard Neal's excellent portrayal of the older David? The Brown family dynasty was well represented with father Chris Brown, a.k.a. Wimborne's Town Serjant, playing Mr Peggotty, and no fewer than three of his four children in the production. It was good to see Chris being given a more substantial part, as he proved that he is a powerful actor. He is still on crutches following an operation, but that was quite in keeping.
McGill, the director, explained how the adaptation of Charles Dickens' story
by Matthew Francis worked. "The two Davids interact throughout the play. One
is the constant witness to childhood hopes, the other watching, questioning,
desperate to regain a land of lost content." I was initially disappointed to
see a relatively bare stage with minimal props, but on this occasion it didn't
matter as the larger than life characters, sound effects and skilful lighting
were all our imaginations needed to take the journey from Yarmouth to London.
Apart from which, it would have been impossible to portray the schoolroom, the
seaside and Mr Micawber's besieged residence without hasty changes of scenery.
Whilst we're on the subject of Mr Micawber, in constant hope of something turning up, Simon Jackson did a splendid job, as the lines are not the easiest to remember. And had his tongue twisted in the wrong way, or had he forgotten his words altogether, other members of the cast would have had to have ad libbed, as Wimborne Drama bravely decided to have no prompt. Not that they needed it. This was a production with no weak links, and every single one of the large cast deserved a mention. Unfortunately, that is something space will not allow. However, rather special accolades should also go to Carolyn Hewitt as Peggotty, Joe Brooks as headmaster Mr Creakle and Howard Lovejoy as Mr Tungay. In addition, Martin Matthews' portrayal of the repulsively creepy Uriah Heep was a sight to be seen. Wimborne Drama should be very proud of having embarked on an ambitious production, and succeeded admirably.
Marilyn Ayres (Wimborne Magazine)
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