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DARLINGTON Civic Theatre has joined in with the bicentenary celebrations of the birth of Charles Dickens with ‘Great Expectations' as it tours the country prior to its West End transfer.

The set on first glance is a large, gloomy and dusty room in the interior of Miss Havisham's house with a large table as the focal point, but with the clever use of smoke, mirrors, subtle lighting and a bit of imagination it becomes so much more as we are transported to many places including Joe's forge and the streets of London.

Condensing the full story into two hours, does of course mean that some characters and themes are only touched on very lightly, but it does mean that the story has a rapid pace, and the second half especially flies by. Throughout the story we follow Young Pip, Taylor Jay-Davies, with narration from the Adult Pip, Paul Nivison. Both are excellent in their roles as is Paula Wilcox, who is unrecognisable as Miss Havisham. The acting throughout is physical and works brilliantly with the story along with a superb use of costume, make-up. The special effects are impressive with the use of mirrors and flames. In fact it is impossible to find fault with any aspect of the production.

This captivating cast produce an impressively slick production. You do not have to be a fan of Dickens to enjoy this show just a fan of high quality theatre.

 Great Expectations runs until Saturday 20th October.


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