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by Daphne du Maurier
'Truly a brilliant production'
"The audience know the story," whispered my companion, as the first act of Daphne du Maurier's story of Rebecca unfolded.
You could feel a ripple of rancour with the entrance of Mrs Danvers, chillingly portrayed by Chrissie Neal, and sense the waves of sympathy for the second Mrs de Winter, as she fought to come to terms with what she perceived - erroneously as it turned out - to be undying love for her predecessor.
Tracey Nicholls was battling a severe cold, but she triumphed as the young wife, insecure in her new role.
Richard Neal is a stalwart of Wiinborne Drama, with a whole host of parts to his credit, but this was undoubtedly one of his best as the irascible Maxim de winter.
Tony Feltham is an actor who is never type cast. He is as convincing as a good guy or a bad guy - and this time he was a latter - in spades.
When Roy Birch appeared as a butler in a production in Ferndown, I commented that he was born to play the part. He emailed me, thanking me for the review, but added that he wasn't sure that his mother would have approved! Sorry, Roy, you've done it again, as you were perfect as the butler Frith, affecting the walk and sniffy superiority with aplomb.
The support actors, Helen Martland, Graham Hawkins, Dave Williams, James Singfield, Russ Guillaume and Joe Brooks all played their roles with enthusiasm and professionalism.
The set, which included a staircase, was the standard of a professional production, and the costumes were authentic.
Director Paul Dodman, who was standing at the back of the theatre, must have been delighted to overhear the enthusiastic comments and buzz from the audience as the curtain came down. It was truly a brilliant production.
Marilyn Ayres, The Community Magazine
LAST night - well, Wednesday night - I dreamt I went to Manderley again, only this dream came to life at the newly refurbished Tivoli Theatre in Wimborne.
Paul Dodman's direction steered the characters through this well-known story of many emotions and although it lacked pace to begin with it soon gained momentum.
When the new Mrs de Winter, played by Tracey Nicholls, with just the right amount of demureness, returns to the de Winter estate, she discovers that her husband's first wife, Rebecca, still has a strange unearthly hold over everyone there. Constantly trying to reassure her, are her husband Maxim de Winter, portrayed by Richard Neal with great presence, and the ever-reliable estate manager Frank Crawley, nicely played by Dave Williams.
The villainous side is well represented by Ton Feltham as boy friend Jack Favell but Chrissie Neal's portrayal of Mrs Danvers, the housekeeper, was chilling with her stillness and piercing, staring eyes as she recalled her beloved mistress.
The atmospheric set is dominated by an impressive staircase, which is used to great effect and complemented with effective lighting and scene changes.
There were a few first night gremlins showing - perhaps the spirit of Rebecca was with us.
Michael Leigh, Daily Echo
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