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Northanger Abbey

Date

4th April 2014

Society

Marlborough Dramatic Club

Venue

Brentwood School

Type of Production

Play

Director

Graham Poulteney

Report

Author: Tessa Davies

Marlborough Dramatic Club has a very good reputation for producing top quality productions and this one was no exception.  Northanger Abbey is a typical Jane Austin story, set in her own period and featuring good looking men, pretty ladies and lots of angst.   It must have been a challenge to set the play on a standing set and it took me a while to come to terms with the story.  Once I had ‘got’ that I was enthralled.

The cast were very strong and all the characterisations were well displayed.  Juliette Bird, playing the heroine Isabella Thorpe, was on stage for a very large part of the play and her dialogue was word perfect, her character well defined and she looked the part.  Margaret Corry played Mrs Allen with great style and comedy, Emma Moriarty was delightful as the slightly devious Catherine Morland.  Jackie Parry played Eleanor Tilney beautifully and we warmed to her performance as the play moved along

Guy Harding was the hero Henry Tilney, which he played with his usual style and confidence; he is entirely suited to this period and always produces a strong performance.  It was nice to see two newcomers to the company in Justin Cartledge as a very manipulative John Thorpe and Gary Ball as the charming James Morland.   I do hope we will see more of them as they are both good strong performers.

The cast doubled up for a lot of the small parts so it is difficult for me to mention everyone, but they all gave strong performances and even the odd blank in the dialogue was well covered.  I was very impressed with the fact that the long and complicated dialogue was well remembered for 99.9% of the time.   This was a professional standard production which I very much enjoyed.

The members of the ensemble were excellent, providing good background without being obtrusive to the dialogue.  It’s not easy to continue performing ‘in the background’ but this cast were perfect.

The set looked good with the attention to detail that we have come to expect from this company.  It’s the small touches that make a difference, the flowers, the window dressing, the light and bell pulls.  The lighting, which was particularly important to portray the difference between real and imagined, was perfectly timed.

The costumes were to a very high standard, all perfect to the period and the wigs, of which there were more than was actually apparent, were well dressed and looked natural.

Overall, another great production from Marlborough, thank you for an enjoyable evening.