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The Talented Mr Ripley

by Phyllis Nagy
13 - 16 February 2008

The Talented Mr Ripley poster

Tom Ripley : Rob Cording
Reddington : Andy Cragg
Herbert Greenleaf :Paul Dodman
Emily Greenleaf :Penny Pearson
Butler : Michael Smith
Aunt Dottie : Boo Feltham
Fausto : Alfie Tyson-Brown
Dickie Greenleaf : Greg Verver
Marge Sherwood : Jackie Lawson
Sophia : Michaela Slatford
Tenente Roverini : Paul Oliver

Director : Stuart Glossop

Set Designer : Kevin Wilkins

Never afraid of tackling a challenging play, Wimborne Drama's choice of The Talented Mr Ripley gives a number of young actors a golden opportunity to show their burgeoning skills.

Based on a novel by Patricia Highsmith, and twice made into film, this adaption to the stage works well, because although there are four diverse locations, an innovative set ensures there is no need for scene changes.

It’s a deep, dark story - the sort that pulls you up by your bootstraps. In late 1950s new York, Tom Ripley, a young under-achiever, is sent to Europe to retrieve a rich and spoilt millionaire playboy, name Dickie Greenleaf.

What ensues is chilling, and as the play runs until the end of the week I won’t give away any more of the plot.

Making his debut on the stage of the Tivoli, Rob Cording as Mr Ripley, proves that he can be sinister in spades. Another newcomer is Greg Verver in his second production for Wimborne drama as Dickie Greenleaf. Two young men set to become regulars with this group which celebrates its 80th anniversary this year.

Despite being just 15 years of age Alfie Tyson-Brown has been involved with Wimborne Drama for nine years, and is a confident young performer who puts in a convincing performance as servant Fausto.

Other parts were played convincingly by Paul Dodman, Jackie Lawson, Ryan Clements, Penny Pearson, Boo Feltham, Michaela Slatford, Paul Oliver and Andy Cragg.

This is a play which will hold your attention.

Marilyn Barber, The Stour and Avon Magazine

Never having seen the film version of this play, nor read the novel, I was perhaps at a major disadvantage – so it did not help that there were huge stretches of dialogue early on in this production that I simply could not hear, despite the actors’ body mics, clarity of speech possibly having been sacrificed for authenticity of accent.

Either this was remedied as the play progressed, or my ears attuned themselves, but the second half seemed infinitely clearer. But I am not convinced that this story of an American psychopath who stops at nothing to get what he wants makes a good play, as to my mind it leaves too many questions unanswered.

However, Rob Cording is rewardingly sinister in the title role – and shows no embarrassment at having to make so many full costume changes in view of the audience – and there are fine performances too from Greg Verver as Dickie Greenleaf, whose alter ego Tom Ripley adopts, and from Jackie Lawson as Dickie’s girlfriend, Marge.

The supporting cast also provide good characterisations, in particular Ryan Clements (Freddie Miles) and Paul Dodman (Herbert Greenleaf), and there are some excellent sound and lighting effects.

Linda Kirkman

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