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Great Expectations a Brisk and Delightful Piece of Theatre


Charles Dickens is among literatures most beloved and revered writers, but while his stories crackle with fascinating characters, intriguing narratives, and memorable plot twists, translating that to the stage can sometime prove tricky. The length alone can be off-putting even to devoted fans and theatre-goers. Little wonder why the slender A Christmas Carol is so frequently shared for a cherished holiday staging.

But with Great Expectations, adapted by Gale Childs Daly, all for One and its artistic director Lauren Nichols has found a way to tell the story of Pip and his coming of age in a brisk and lively production. The story itself moves along beautifully with actors playing their roles while sharing narration duty along the way, allowing the story to move along nicely. The characters leave the stage and their scenes seamlessly while seldom leaving the stage entirely. Meanwhile the actors on the sidelines provide sound effects and move the sets around the stage smoothly.

The cast is small, but it is mighty. With only one Pip (beautifully played by Aidan Kroeker), the other seven cast members fill all of the other roles, doing so without creating any sense of disorientation or confusion. In fact, the women who play all the female roles – Rachel Walker and Kalleah Wilfong – are particularly effective at slipping into different personas. The fact that there were often parallel relationships between their characters made their versatility particularly effective.

The five men – Mike Adams, Timothy Deal, Steven Manning, Dennis Nichols, and Vince Rainelli – are often the sources of humor in the story, a particularly welcome delight to balance some of the heavier moments and themes. Dickens has a deft hand at finding humor in the difficult situations, and that is beautifully conveyed by Daly’s adaptation and Nichols’s direction. Although not strictly a Christmas production in the way that A Christmas Carol is, the notions of family and love and loyalty strike an especially pleasing tone this time of year, and Great Expectations – which runs through this weekend, November 19-21 –fills the bill delightfully. Visit artstix.org and allforOnefw.org for ticket information.

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