Monday, 20 April 2015

REVIEW: "Rebecca" adapted by Emma Rice and Kneehigh Theatre

Rebecca, adapted by Emma Rice and performed by KneeHigh Theatre. 


Rebecca is my favourite book and so of course when I heard that Kneehigh Theatre were putting on a production of Rebecca, I was intrigued – but also concerned. That’s always the way when your favourite book is being adapted for stage and anything could happen.

Before the day rolled around, I heard opposing accounts of the production, so naturally I was apprehensive.

There was no need.

While the adaptation was perhaps not what I expected, in many ways it was better. So much better. I can’t remember the last time I walked out of a theatre thinking, ‘I need to go again.’ In fact, I didn’t want to get out of my seat – I wanted to stay and wait for the evening show (we went to a matinee). I wasn’t expecting it to be that good, and as a long term du Maurier fan, I was delighted.

This was not the straight forward Rebecca adaptation that you’ve seen before. This was so much more. But if you had told me that Rebecca with sea shanties, musical instruments, comedy, and a puppet dog would actually be good, then I would have laughed. But it was so fantastic and so clever.

To start with, the amount of detail that went into the production was staggering. From the curling R monographs in the staircase and on the vases, to the lines lifted directly from the original book and so much more.

The set itself was spectacular and really cleverly created to reflect both the beach and Manderley itself. Rebecca’s boat, Je Reviens, was part of the set itself, meaning that Rebecca’s body and her boat was present on set throughout the whole play (until the end, when the ghost of her is FINALLY shaken off), echoing that ghostly sense that is present throughout the book.

The casting was pretty perfect too. The actress who played Mrs de Winter was pretty much how I imagined her and she played the role perfectly, showing all the anxiety and uncertainty that the character has, before the transformation later on after Maxim has confessed. The other roles were well cast – and I particularly enjoyed the casting of Robert, the footman who gained a greater role – and a comedy one at that – in the play. It was fantastically handled and showed how life would have continued on in the house, despite this tragedy lurking in the background.

The story told in the play took the essential elements of the story and kept the core heart and feeling. Lighter moments were inserted and they worked well – coming particularly from Robert, Beatrice, and Jasper the dog, played by a puppet. It sounds ridiculous, but it was very clever and well done. There were great comedic moments too, which sounds odd, but it was done very well and just worked. 

The music worked well too, and I loved the atmospheric songs sung by the cast. It really fitted the mood and atmosphere. All in all, it was really sharp, clever, and all consuming. I couldn’t – and still haven’t – stopped thinking about it. I only wish I could have seen it a second time.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Spring days and writing days

Well hello there! It's been a while. Things have got busy and I've found that when I get busy, blogging is the first thing to go. I haven't even managed a What's Up Wednesday the last couple of weeks!

But today is a writing day and I'm catching up with various things like blogging this morning before getting on with some proper writing. Oh, I miss writing days.

I can't believe that it's April already - how did that happen? Looking forward to lots of things this month, including MuggleNet Live!, Rebecca, and Victoria Schwab - all next week! Crazy. So excited though. It's going to be such a great week, although I have so much to do before then.

In exciting news, I was offered one of ten scholarship places at the Winchester Writers' Festival in June and I am so excited. I can't wait to meet lots of other writers and go to lots of workshops and talks - plus one to one meetings with various agents/editors. I am so excited but rather nervous too. I sent off my choices this weekend, so I'll find out soon which courses I am doing. I can't wait!

Plus, before that, there's the Fowey Festival and I can't wait to go back to Fowey (if only I never had to leave) and do lots of du Maurier things.

Otherwise, I've been enjoying the beautiful spring days, all the lovely flowers, the feel of the sun on my face (I've missed the warm sun SO much), the longer days, and looking forward to summer. I'm also dreaming of windsurfing - I WILL get out there soon. I will.

I'm wondering too about how I should make sure that I keep up blogging. Should I do regular features, lists - or what? How does everyone else keep up with their blogging when they get busy? Obviously I want my writing to be my priority, and if something has to go.... but I don't want to let my blog completely slide!

I hope everyone had a lovely Easter - and enjoyed lots of lovely chocolate.