A Tale of Two Cities: Blood for Blood
Jonathan Holloway, based on the novel by Charles Dickens
Chung Ying Theatre Company, Red Shift Productions and Seabright Productions
It is never easy to convert a novel into a 90-minute play. Jonathan Holloway, who has adapted and directs this version, concentrates on style as much as content.
The stage is packed with chairs and shoes, each symbolic, while the cast are dressed in mixed, relatively modern dress.
This looks good but doesn’t necessarily comment too directly on the subject matter of a novel so famous that its plot is known almost by osmosis.
The lynchpin is Abby Wain's Lucie Manette. She is destined to marry a man with a secret, Charles Darnay, played by James Camp.
However, some cackling French types make life difficult in the name of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity but on this occasion mere Schadenfreude appears to be their driver.
The whole builds to an altruistic denouement, bringing Graeme Rose as sleazy Sydney Carton to the fore.
Somehow, while this adaptation intrigues, it does not get deeply into the plot or characters’ psychology, almost certainly leaving many visitors seeking greater clarity.
Reviewer: Philip Fisher