by Marian de Forrest (adapted from the novels of Lousia M Allcott)
26 November - 5 December 2009
This is the story of the March family in New England during the American Civil War in the 1860s. It traces the lives of a mother and her four daughters who cope with life in the absence of their father who is away fighting in the war and follows them through their later lives when the war is over. The love of the mother and the lives and loves of the four feisty girls make an utterly charming play, charting, as it does, the ambitions, hopes, disappointments and final happiness of four girls who grow into women. Prepare to laugh and, perhaps, to shed a tear or two during what promises to be a delightful evening of theatre.
Photos: Peter Whittle
11 December 2009
Tony Neale’s realistic set, lovingly envisaged by Cas Frost, Jenny Webb and Mary Griffiths, was easy to accept as the March family home as the Miller Centre Players brought four of the best known sisters to the stage.
Finding four young ladies to take on the roles was something of an achievement for director Avril swift, as was helping them bring Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy to life.
Emily Damesick certainly got under the skin of tomboy Jo whose impetuosity was calmed by Katie Kavanagh’s sensible Meg. Ellie Gauge had the difficult task of portraying Beth’s failing health and Saskia Jiggens did sterling work with Amy’s misplaced vocabulary.
Marmie had her heart and hands full with her brood, while Dom Mountain had the required love, affection and care for mankind simply oozing from her. I couldn’t get to grips with Philip Loughton’s delivery of Mr March – there seemed to be pauses, both verbally and in movement, although his love of his family shone through.
Simon Long’s Laurie was certainly the joker of my imagination, and tackled equally successfully by Kieran McGough was the more serious John Brooke – suitor to Meg. Tony Neale didn’t put a foot wrong as the benevolent Mr Laurence and Elizabeth Callow as Aunt March launched herself into the family’s life in a manner to make Lady Bracknell proud.
Nicholas Ward’s accent and sprightly actions as Professor Bhaer enlivened the action and Cordelia Smith bustled appropriately as Hannah.
Costumes and wigs were outstanding and the props trio also triumphed.
The selling of Jo’s hair and the realisation that Amy was right for Laurie were very well portrayed and although American accents sometimes slipped, the setting and cast really brought the books to life.