Tuesday, March 18, 2014

'Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities’ adapted by Mike Poulton

18 March 2014

On Saturday we were at the Royal Theatre in Northampton to see 'Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities’ – a new adaptation by Mike Poulton, with incidental music by Rachel Portman. This was the first production we have seen directed by the Royal & Derngate’s new Artistic Director, James Dacre, and it was great to see him building on some of the key characteristics of his illustrious predecessors – creating a set which appeared to have escaped from the stage and started to colonise the auditorium (much like Rupert Goold might have done), and using a ‘community cast’ of local students and amateur actors to provide crowds and extras to support the professional leads (a feature of many of Laurie Sansom’s Northampton productions). ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ was impressive, effective and enjoyable – whipping through the story at a rapid pace with a swagger and well-judged humour that never detracted from the seriousness of the situation. I particularly liked the sinister appearance of Mairead McKinley’s Madame Defarge in one of the theatre’s boxes, overlooking events on the stage, and knitting furiously throughout.

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