13 December 2013

Middlemarch - Fred and Mary at The Orange Tree


Fred and Mary was the third and final part of the Orange Tree's adaptation of Middlemarch and, unsurprisingly, it was very much like the previous two. It had the same approach, same cast, same set and much of the same story. All of that was good news.

There was one slight change. Instead of sitting in the middle of the far bench as I usually do, I moved slightly to one side to get a different view of the stage.

Even though the cast was the same there were a few new characters, as well as plenty of familiar ones. One neat trick was to use the same pair of actors for both Fred and Mary's parents.

Fred and Mary's story was mostly Fred's story as he sought a secure position that would allow him to take a wife.

Some of that story we had heard before as he was hoping to inherit from a rich but not that close relative whom we had seen die previously and had followed the implications for the doctor who tended him. This time our main interest was the will and where his money went.

And like the other stories, this one had a happy and predictable ending, this time with dancing too. And like the other stories, the ending did not particularly matter, the pleasure in the play came from the characters and their tales.

It was an act of vision and courage to conceive of Middlemarch as a trilogy of plays and it was executed with all the professionalism and charm that a classic book deserves and the Orange Tree is accustomed to.

Fred and Mary's story was another fine evening at the theatre and an uplifting one too.

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