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Mary Rose review at Riverside Studios London

DogOrange’s production of JM Barrie’s infrequently performed play has been revised and tightened since it was staged last year at the Jack Studio Theatre. Written in the aftermath of the First World War, it’s a curious piece, frequently creaky in its mixture of sentimentality and odd bursts of comedy, but, in director Matthew Parker’s hands, also at times quite affecting.

Barrie combines a study of grief and its consequences with elements of a more conventional ghost story. A young man returns from Australia to the home of his childhood, now abandoned.

Through a series of flashbacks Barrie reveals the history of the house and its occupants. Mary Rose, the young daughter of the house, once disappeared during a trip to a remote island in the Hebrides, known locally as the “island that likes to be visited”. Three weeks later, she reappeared, seemingly unaware of any time having passed. Years later, despite being warned against it by her parents, Mary Rose’s husband, Simon, takes her back to the island.

Jessie Cave’s performance in the title role is rather limited by the innocent and child-like nature of the character she plays but the performances are, in the main, committed and the music by Maria Haik Escudero is very evocative.

The ensemble sequences in which the spirit world seeps into this one never feels completely integrated into the piece but they are elegantly performed.

Production Information

Riverside Studios, London, March 28-April 28

Author
JM Barrie
Director
Matthew Parker
Producers
DogOrange, Midnight Productions
Cast includes
Jessie Cave, Joanna Watt, Charlie Kerson, Nicholas Hoad, Phil Bishop, Alec Gray, Sally Preston, Philippa George, Ariel Harrison, Maya Thomas
Running time
2hrs 30mins

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