A TREASURE THAT MUST BE SEEN
Developed by Miriam Margolyes and Sonia Fraser
Performed by Miriam Margolyes
Directed by Sonia Fraser
at Opera House, Wellington
From 7 Dec 2007 to 9 Dec 2007
Reviewed by Laurie Atkinson, 8 Dec 2007
originally published in The Dominion Post
As Mr. Crummles says of his daughter, "She must be seen, sir - seen - to be ever so faintly appreciated." Wellingtonians have only three more performances (two today, one on Sunday) to appreciate a one woman show that I rank right up there alongside Emlyn Williams' Dickens and Dylan Thomas, Michael MacLiammoir's Wilde and Shaw, and Hal Holbrook's Mark Twain, all of whom appeared here, albeit many years ago.
In a performance that encompasses the wonderful caricatures that Dickens drew with such comic exaggeration and truth (Mr. Bumble with Mrs. Corney both on heat from Oliver Twist, for example) to the achingly sad cameo from Bleak House with which Miriam Margolyes ends her show, and the essential details of her hero's life, she draws her audience onto the stage and into her passion for the works of Charles Dickens. She assists in creating a two-way traffic in imagination and concentration.
Her voice is clear and sharp and effortlessly fills the Opera House whether she is having fun with the "icky" heroines that Dickens felt he had to write or portraying all the suppressed and never to be forgotten love of one woman for another that is remarkably modern and unusual in a Victorian novel.
Her face has such mobility and is so expressive that she immediately creates a character with a realism that is remarkable. It is as if we are watching everything in one huge close-up and on a stage as large as the Opera House this is an art that we are in danger of losing even in much smaller theatres.
Miriam Margolyes's performance is a phenomenon and like all phenomena should be witnessed and treasured.
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.
See also reviews by:
Lynn Freeman (Capital Times);