Ah, Rebecca. Great book, Great Film. I’ve never seen the play performed before and wondered how it would translate to the stage without the majesty of an actual country house as the setting for mannerly, the home of Maxim de Winter and where he bring his new young bride just a year after the death of his first wife – Rebecca, of the title. In fact it worked very well.

Where to begin? There are so many excellent characters in this story and from the opening scene were straight away introduced to two of them. Catherine Bailey who played Beatrice Lacey, the sister of Maxim de Winter, capitalized on all the extrovert opportunities of this role and was a pleasure to watch every time she appeared. Her husband (Joe Kennedy) made a fine foil for her and they were well cast as a married couple. Trevor Edwards as Frank Crawley, had the task of setting the scene and linking the story lines with explanation. An actor like this, with clear dialogue, was a helpful character when telling a complex tale in a couple of hours. Then there was the rather intense personality of Max De Winter played by Darren Matthews, Who managed to convey the aloof qualities required. Together with amused tolerance of his young bride. Sara Thompson played the new wife and was spot on with her characterization. She looked perfect for the role, her costume and hair being just right for the period and portraying the young bride as anybody already familiar with this story, would expect. She is a good actress and made an excellent Mrs De Winter.

Now to the villain of the piece- the sinister Mrs Danvers. Always a favourite with the audience, Vicky Tropman proved yet again what a fine actress she is. It is a great temptation to ‘go over the top’ with this difficult role so it was to her great credit that she gave the character just the right amount of evil. I particularly enjoyed the slightly deranged agitation she showed during the final scenes, whilst quietly looking through the late Mrs De Winter’s diary as the other characters on stage played out the story.

A splendid performance. The final scene of the fire consuming Manderley, was exceptional for a small stage, with clever lighting, effects of flames and well judged billowing of smoke as the fire spread. Congratulations to the cast, their director Lindsay Lloyd and those who designed the set, it all resulted in a very successful production.
Written by Cheryl Rogers