23 November 2017

Thoroughly entertained by Jamaica Inn at Tabard Theatre

The combination of Tabard Theatre and Daphne Du Maurier was the sort of temptation that I am not good at resisting so I willingly parted with £20 for Row A Seat 7.

I was not sure what to expect as I had not read the book and if I had ever seen a film or TV adaptation then I had forgotten it. So it came as a complete surprise to find that it was a story about smugglers, the sort that I was familiar with as a child growing up in Weymouth where Moonfleet was read by everybody.

It was a good story too with a cast of interesting characters from the brazen horse thief to a studiously pious priest. Unexpectedly finding herself caught up with dubious people and dubious activities was a young woman and orphan Mary Yellan who had been forced by her parents' death to go to Jamaica Inn to live with her aunt and her husband, the pub's landlord.

In an impressive cast Kimberley Jarvis was brilliant as Mary, the lost girl who developed strength and found a purpose. Helen Bang also shone as Mary's aunt who suffered under the bullying of her husband but somehow managed to find solace in that.

The story had me gripped and while some of the plot turns were not a great surprise the final ending was always in doubt until we got there and the tale was told with lots of drama. There were a few songs thrown in too which was a fine addition.

Jamaica Inn was a thoroughly entertaining evening thanks to a good story, a cast of strong characters all brought to life by fine acting and a production that provided plenty of action and kept the pace going.

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