By Mark Shenton
20 Mar 2013
In a press statement, Bruce Athol MacKinnon, on behalf of the production company Beckman Unicorn, commented, "It is with great sadness that Great Expectations [will close] earlier than planned. The current financial climate has made producing independently in the commercial sector even harder despite our 90% audience approval rating."
The production transferred to the West End following an extensive national tour, where it opened officially Feb. 6, following previews that began Feb. 1. There have been prior adaptations of the story as a film, TV drama and stage musical, but this is reportedly the first time it has been produced as a full-scale stage play in either the West End or on Broadway.
The production will continue its reach beyond the West End with over 780 screenings planned across the United States beginning March 21. Beyond that, it is also being distributed to Hong Kong, Croatia, South Africa, Sweden, Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Germany.
It is adapted for the stage by Scottish playwright Jo Clifford, who has previously written approximately 80 plays. As John Clifford, his work with the Traverse Theatre included Losing Venice (Fringe First 1985), Lucy's Play, Playing with Fire, Inés de Castro and Light in the Village. Since transitioning to Jo, she has continued writing, notably Faust Part One, Faust Part Two and Every One for Royal Lyceum Edinburgh. She has also adapted The Seagull and The Cherry Orchard for Theatre Alba (Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2010 and 2011).
The full cast is Jack Ellis (Jaggers), Chris Ellison (Magwitch), Paula Wilcox (Miss Havisham), Paul Nivison (Adult Pip), Taylor Jay-Davies (Young Pip), Grace Rowe (Estella), Katy Allen (Camilla Pocket), Josh Elwell (Joe Gargery/Servant), Gareth Glen (Bentley Drummle/Cousin Raymond), Isabelle Joss (Mrs Joe/Sarah Pocket/Molly), Suzanne Robertson (Biddy), James Vaughan (Wopsle/Wemmick) and Rhys Warrington (Herbert Pocket).
The play is is directed by Graham McLaren, with set by Robin Peoples, costumes by Annie Gosney and Graham McLaren, lighting by Kai Fischer, original music by Simon Slater and sound by Matt McKenzie. Giovanni Bedin, Head Couturier for House of Worth, has worked with Annie Gosney on the creation of Estella's couture gowns for the show. Charles Frederick Worth, the world's first official couturier, was a contemporary of Charles Dickens. It is produced by Bruce Athol MacKinnon on behalf of Beckman Unicorn Ltd & Satis House Productions Ltd.
To book tickets, contact the box office on 0844 412 4663 or visit www.greatexpectationstheplay.com for more details.