Woman In White
The Woman In White
The story begins with Walter Hartright’s
late night meeting of the titular woman dressed in white he rescues
from a group of pursuers in July, 1861. Walter goes to work in the service
of the selfish and unpleasant Mr Fairlie as a drawing instructor and
in doing so meets his niece Laura who strongly resembles the mysterious
woman in white. Walter falls in love with Laura, but naturally there
is a hitch. Laura does love Walter but is engaged to Sir Percival Glyde.
Deceit, love and various unmaskings ensue that explain the strange confinement
within an asylum of Anne Catherick … The Woman In
As filled with suspense as the Clifton
Bridge, there is nothing to find fault with here. The sets were beautifully
designed, the costumes glorious and the performances pretty damn near
Top of the tree, for her duel role as
both the duped Laura Fairlie and the tragic Anne Catherick, is Louise
Wright, who upheld a near perfect balance of angst and hope throughout
the performance, without ever once being over the top.
With Mike Lockley prowling the stage
as the evil Sir Percival Glyde, with as many sour glowers as it takes
to turn milk, and Eryl Hughes being both as obsequious as a footman
and as cunning as a fox in the role of Count Fosco, there was malevolence
aplenty, that brought ample amounts of “oooh”ing and “ahhh”ing
from the audience in return. Indeed, at times it was difficult to refrain
from shouting at the stage “Don’t do it, love”, so
compelling is the action that is taking place.
Dickson as Frederick Fairlie was deliciously spiteful as the curmudgeonly
old hypochondriac, whereas Mark Braund grew delightfully into his role
as Walter, who returns to Limmeridge Hall to try to solve the mystery.
At his side, Natalie Black as Marion Halcombe, a dour woman in the famous
novel, shone brilliantly as the determined half-sister of Laura, whereas
David Tolcher (who also directed the production), playing Mister Gilmour,
the family solicitor, held just the right amount of bluster and pomposity.
Special mention should also be made
of Ann Welsby, who undoubtedly had the line of the evening. “Mister
Fairlie is feeling a little low this evening, sir, and personally I
wish he were ten feet lower.” Her performance as the much put
upon, but nonetheless loyal, Mrs Vesey was excellent in all ways.
This was my first visit to the The Little
Theatre, Birkenhead, for some time. Judging by this performance, it
is my mistake and one that I will not be repeating.
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Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit. - Chris High 2003.
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