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David Copperfield

by Matthew Francis (adapted from the book by Charles Dickens)
26-29 September 2001


David Copperfield
Richard Neal
Young David
Fred Tyson-Brown
Mama Jean Dishington
Peggotty Carolyn Hewitt
Mr Chillip Barry Baynton
Barkis David Pile
Mr Murdstone
Russ Guillaume
Quinion Bob Hucklesby
Mr Peggotty Chris Brown
Ham Andy Walker
Young Ham Joe Bell
Little Emily Lauren Newbury
Mr Creakle Joe Brooks
Mr Tungay Howard Lovejoy
Mr Mell Bob Hucklesby
Young Thomas Traddles
Matt Doughty
Young James Steerforth
Matthew Holman
Schoolboys Meredith & Alfred
Tyson-Brown
Aunt Betsey Trotwood
Jan Bursby
Mr Dick Dave Williams
Janet Kate Compiani
Mr Micawber Simon Jackson
Mrs Micawber Chrissie Neal
Micawber Children
Rebecca & Conor Feltham
James Steerforth
Tony Feltham
Thomas Traddles Colin Pile
Thief Rebecca Jacques
Mr Wickfield Barry Baynton
Agnes Wickfield
Tracey Nicholls
Dora Spenlow Lucy Harrold
Uriah Heep Martin Matthews
Mrs Steerforth
Margaret Pope
Rosa Dartle Boo Dickson
Director Lesley McGill
Assistant Director
Paul Dodman
Stage Manager
Ashley Thorne
Lighting Director
Russell Parker
Costumes Eclectia Costumes & Hirearchy

Traddles (Colin Pile), Steerforth (Tony Feltham) & David (Richard Neal)

David Copperfield (Richard Neal)
Young David (Fred-Tyson Brown) & Uriah Heep (Martin Matthews) Agnes (Tracey Nicholls) & Mr Micawber (Simon Jackson)
Young David with Mrs Micawber (Chrissie Neal) and the Micawber Children (Rebecca & Conor Feltham) Aunt Betsey (Jan Bursby) & Mr Dick (Dave Williams)

IN recent years Wimborne Drama seems to have cornered the market in epic dramas, and this latest production can only enhance the company's already strong reputation.

Dickens' characters are so well known that every new entrance drew murmurs of recognition from the audience, and it is to the credit of all concerned that each one was immediately recognisable and superbly portrayed. With such a strong cast it would be unfair to highlight individuals, save for David Copperfield himself, on stage throughout watching and commenting on proceedings. Richard Neal excelled as the older David, while fourteen year old Fred Tyson-Brown showed tremendous promise as his younger self.

Lesley McGill's inspired direction never let the pace slip, and scenes flowed easily from one to another, helped along by outstanding lighting effects and well-detailed props and costumes. Charles Dickens is quoted as saying that 'of all my books, I like this the best'. On the evidence of this production it is easy to understand why.

Linda Kirkman (Daily Echo)

Mr Peggotty (Chris Brown) "I 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.

Lesley 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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