John Moore and Peter Fanning after Charles Dickens
Shrewsbury School consistently brings quality theatre to the Fringe winning a Fringe First with its production of Jekyll!. It returns to Edinburgh this year with a vibrant musical adaption of Great Expectations and it’s a superb production.
Once again, John Moore and Peter Fanning have triumphed in writing this musical with excellent orchestrations. It features a large highly talented cast and a splendid orchestra which performs live with skill and immense proficiency.
The simple set consists of two sets of treads from which costumes and props magically appear. The cast all dressed in black create myriad characters by the addition of a coat, shawl, aprons and a variety of clothes and this works exceedingly well.
The story of Pip, the young boy from humble origins who falls in love with a girl from a different class, is poignant. Both Toby Pattinson as the young Pip and Luke Lloyd Jones as the older one give impressive performances as does Antonia Wordie as the older Estella.
He courts the hard, haughty Estella but it’s a love that’s fraught with difficulties. He journeys from young boy who meets Magwitch the convict through to being looked after by Joe the blacksmith and meeting the macabre Miss Haversham who was jilted on her wedding day.
Eventually, he travels to London to become a gentleman thanks to a mysterious legacy controlled by the sinister lawyer, Jaggers. Finally Pip recognises who he is and what to do with his life.
The whole ensemble performs with energy and complete commitment and sings with confidence with beautiful harmonies. There are some striking images and strong physicality.
There are rousing chorus numbers, soaring ballads and jazz routines all performed with panache and style.
The slick choreography includes an impressive tap dancing sequence and you have to admire the cast’s dexterity.
They are only at C until Saturday so grab a ticket while you can as I’m sure it’s bound to sell out.
Reviewer: Robin Strapp