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Review of Miss Havisham’s Expectations – Dickens With A Difference

Miss Haversham
Linda Marlowe as Miss Havisham

I’m always really happy when a show I go to see really delivers on its promise and “Dickens with a Difference” at the Trafalgar Studios is a case in point. Two of Charles Dickens’ most well known creations are brought to life in an innovative and engaging fashion by amazingly talented actors in the Studio 2.

The first story to be told was Miss Havisham’s Expectations starring Linda Marlowe as the heroine from Great Expectations. Now, I have to admit, I’ve never read this book, nor seen any TV/film adaptation. I knew the name, but that was it. Luckily though, the premise of the show is that Miss Havisham tells us her personal story, not just from the Dickens’ perspective but also from her own as a woman in her own right. Di Sherlock’s writing really gives the audience an insight into “the lady in the wedding dress”, shut away in her decaying home, hating men and pining for her lost love – cad and bounder that he was. We learn of her creation by Dickens, probably based on Eliza Emily Donnithorne, an Australian with a very similar story to our Miss Havisham’s and, in a very neat twist Miss Havisham discusses other Dickens’ characters, at times – thanks to some wonderful use of projection – actually engaging with them in conversation as she recounts her tale. This was a well crafted piece of theatre as Linda brought Miss Havisham to life in really unexpected ways with humour, music and magic tricks that, sitting as close as I did, I still can’t work out.

Ultimately, as everyone (even me now) knows, Miss Havisham tries to commit suicide, and Linda really puts everything into the scenes leading to her final moments, including a heart-breaking ‘discussion’ with her daughter and ultimately to her death uttering the immortal words of Dickens himself “Take the pencil and write under my name, ‘I forgive her!’

Review by Terry Eastham

4 star Review

Dickens with a DifferenceDickens With A Difference
Award-winning actress Linda Marlowe (The World’s Wife, Berkoff’s Women) stars in Miss Havisham’s Expectations as the iconic jilted bride ‘Norma’ Havisham, forever in her wedding dress alongside the stopped clock and untouched cake. Prepare to be amazed as she invites us to share her side of the story – a tale of passion, vengeance and more than a little magic.

The show, which had a successful run at the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe, is an original take on one of Dickens’ best loved novels. Wrestling with love, loss and ageing our heroine replays episodes from the novel from her perspective – at times darkly funny as she explodes the stereotype with laudanum-fuelled relish. Drawing on the text of Great Expectations, biographical material from Dickens’ own life and original material by writer-director Di Sherlock, Miss Havisham’s Expectations is a roller-coaster ride through what it means to be a woman both then and now.

Review of Sikes and Nancy

Miss Havisham’s Expectations
Performance Dates Tuesday 9th December 2014 – Saturday 3rd January 2015
Monday to Saturday, 7.45pm
Matinees (variable days), 3pm
Running time 1 hour
Twitter @HavishamExpects, @TrafStudios, #dickensdouble
Performer Linda Marlowe
Writer/Director Di Sherlock
Producer Julie Clare for One Spirit Productions
Producer Tim Johanson Productions

Sikes & Nancy
Performance Dates Tuesday 9th December 2014 – Saturday 3rd January 2015
Monday to Saturday, 9.15pm
Matinees (variable days), 4.30pm
Running time 1 hour
Twitter @sikesandnancy, @jamescswanton, @TheProdExch, @TrafStudios,
Performer/Adapter James Swanton
Writer Charles Dickens
Producer Jimmy Jewell Ltd in association with Andrew Thomas Theatricals Ltd and The Production Exchange

Miss Havisham’s Expectations and Sikes & Nancy
Trafalgar Studios (Studio 2), 14 Whitehall, London SW1A 2DY
Tuesday 9th December 2014 – Saturday 3rd January 2015

Saturday 13th December 2014


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