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17 February 2017
By Rory Payne - Lichfield Garrick BBy RORY PAYNE - Lichfield Garrick Blogger
Northanger Abbey is a fitting and exceptional piece of theatre that commemorates the 200th Anniversary of Jane Austen’s Death. The classic satirical novel is brought to life on stage with a range of dramatic techniques that entertain and delight the audience. The adaptation reinvents Austen’s Novel and highlights themes that are surprisingly relevant today whilst staying faithful to the period. This adaptation is part love story, part period drama and part satire, all woven beautifully into a gripping and strong performance. We see the classic restrictions of etiquette and ballroom formalities intertwined with melodramatic imaginings of The Mysteries of Udolpho.
Catherine Morland played by Eva Feiler is a young single woman who is keen to gain a male suitor. She is played with an intelligent blend of naivety, passion and morality that hooks the audience and has them mentally shouting support for her as she battles the deceit, jealousy and lust of her acquaintances. Feiler’s performance is by far the strongest and holds together sometimes long and subtle scenes with a fizzling energy.
The cast work terrifically well as an ensemble and quite literally dance around one another with a flow and ease that transforms what could be a too long performance into a tale that sustains its grip and interest throughout. Superbly performed and directed Northanger Abbey is a both a brilliant introduction to Austen for first timers and a fitting tribute to those familiar with the original novel.
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