EXCERPTS FROM THE REVIEWS
Below are excerpts from the February 8, 2017 MD Theatre Guide review of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations.
Playwright, director, teacher and actor Gale Childs Daly has done a brilliant job of adapting one of Charles Dickens’ most beloved novels, “Great Expectations,” for the stage. This seemingly Herculean task is even more impressive since she utilizes only six actors to play 35 characters and condenses the sprawling novel into a two-hour production. Daly also nicely balances the tragedy, humor and hope in this coming-of-age story without losing the essential elements of Dickens’ tale. Theater and opera director Tazewell Thompson, who directed the phenomenal “Ruined” two years ago in his Everyman debut, helms this play. Thompson again creates a production that captivates and engages with the help of a hugely talented cast and creative team. One has come to expect no less from Everyman.
A production that captivates and engages with the help of a hugely talented cast and creative team.
As Pip, Drew Kopas does a wonderful job transforming from a scared, abused young boy to an educated and well-spoken, middle-class gentleman. By using his physicality and the careful evolution of his accent from poor working-class to middle-class, we watch him grow and mature into a man before our eyes.
While the five other actors are only credited as Narrators 1 through 5, all of them plus Pip, acted as storytellers and Greek chorus. They accomplished this while also jumping nimbly in and out of multiple characters with a slight change in adaptable and historically accurate costumes, carefully designed by David Burdick. Ultimately it was the range of nuance in voice, accent and/or body language devised by the actors that brought each character to life. It was breathtaking and a marvel to watch as they also moved props and set pieces for the different settings at an astonishing pace.
It would be remiss to single out one actor – they all equally shared the weight of this piece and each outstanding. The two times Pip attends the theatre, the “bad” actors are reminiscent of Shakespeare’s rude mechanicals in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” performing a play-within-a-play. They are simply hysterical and it is icing on the cake.
The other character in this production is the set designed by Yu-Hsuan Chen – her first major professional theater project after receiving her master’s from New York University. The concept was to create a visual collage of the places in Pip’s memories – great doors, a parlor, stairs and chandeliers. Complemented by the wonderful work of lighting designer Stephen Quandt and sound designer Fabian Obispo, the organic nature of the set design adapted to each scene and also allowed the illusion of outdoors.
With “Great Expectations,” Everyman has given us another enchanting production that should be seen by all. I highly recommend bringing your children. It is a magical way to introduce – or reintroduce – them to the work of Dickens as well as great theatre.