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Great Expectations, Hampshire Youth Theatre, The Nuffield
Billed as a Gothic fairytale, inspired by the films of Tim Burton, the production more than lived up to expectations both in Gothic vision and dramatic storytelling. From Magwitch's sudden appearance onwards, this was an absorbing, thrilling piece of theatre with a striking visual style staged with dramatic flair.
The superbly designed set - focused on a tilting central platform that doubled as a clock, forever set to twenty to nine, over which clouds of tattered rags hung like overgrown cobwebs - was the perfect backdrop.
This was a real ensemble piece, with uniformly excellent performances, but of particular note are Tim Harris as Magwitch, George Davies (Joe), Ruby Tansey-Thomas and Emma Uden (the Estellas), April Napper (Young Pip), Sam Hughes, who anchored the action so well as older Pip and Ruby Carr (Miss Haversham), in her ragged clothes and make up half vengeful wraith, half rag doll.
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