30 November 2013

Middlemarch - The Doctor's Story at The Orange Tree

I thought that The Doctor's Story, the second in the Orange Tree's Middlemarch trilogy, was even better than the first, and I loved that one.

The basics of the play were the same. There was a very minimalistic set with just a couple of pieces of furniture and the actors spoke directly to the audience to fill in the gaps in the story that we could not see on stage.

We met the doctor in Dorothea's story and learnt some of his story then, especially his arrival in Middlemarch and his subsequent marriage.

In The Doctor's Story we heard more about his relationship with his wife but the main element of the story concerned his financial affairs.

His finances were dependent on Mr Bulstrode who we learnt last time acquired his money in less than decent means. We learnt a lot more about Mr Bulstrode this time and in some ways this was his tale as much as the Doctor's.

And I think that was the difference between the two plays and why I liked this one more.

The Doctor's Story involved more people, which kind of made it more interesting by itself, and that meant that more of the cast had the chance to show what they could do, and they could do lots.

It was good to see Dorothea again, this time playing a cameo role in a scene that we had seen before as part of her story.


Strangely, the Doctor was almost a passenger in his own story as things happened more around him than to him. The main players were, understandably, his wife and Mr Bulstrode but the whole cast were deeply involved and all were excellent.

Several of them played multiple parts too, including one who played three characters in quick succession without leaving the stage.

The Doctor's Story was a delight. It was a good story, interpreted nicely for the stage and delivered superbly by the cast.

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