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Old 03-31-2012, 01:45 AM
masterofmystery masterofmystery is offline
 
Default Review: Jessie Cave's 'Mary Rose' production



Mary Rose review by Ryan Hancock

Director Matthew Parker's production of J.M Barrie's play Mary Rose stars Harry Potter actress Jessie Cave in the title role as the ghost of a young mother whose innocence was lost when she disappears twice in her life on an island in the Hebrides. I was privileged enough to attend the production by DogOrange at Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, London on the 30th March.

Haunting the now decrepit house she lived in during her younger years, Miss Cave is visited by her now adult son (Charlie Kerson) in a gripping and at times genuinely terrifying production. The play is advanced by an ensemble cast of ghosts and ghouls who shamble and sliver across the stage whilst their ghostly moans and screams make up the composition. Being performed in such a small studio it can be genuinely scary at times, and I was on the edge of my seat fairly often, it was thrilling and enchanting.

Miss Cave's performance as Mary Rose captures the innocence and playfulness of the character perfectly whilst as a ghost retaining a sense of longing and fatigue at being taken away from her child and her short life. Through flashbacks we see her as a young lady blissfully unaware of a secret from her childhood, a dreamlike young maiden falling in love and being kept in the dark by both her parents and her lover. As the ghost of Mary Rose, she is haunting and sorrowful, on the verge of forgetting her purpose in lingering in the house, her voice retains it's innocent and dreamy tone. In a brief scene she can be heard singing rather beautifully, commanding a great stage presence with her fellow ghostly apparitions.

The theme of the play is universal, drawing certain similarities to another JM Barrie's works, Peter Pan, but the way it is presented is surely the director's own. The historical costumes of the late 1800s to early 1900s are wonderfully made and as eras change the actors grow noticeably older, whilst the sets change within seconds from decrepit and haunted empty spaces to decorative manor house drawing rooms. This was expertly done as the former looked dusty and in disrepair whilst the latter looked very homely and welcoming.

It's not to say that the play is all horror and fright, there are some delightful comedic points and some wonderful writing between Mary Rose's father (Nicholas Hoad) and family friend Mr Amy (Alec Gray) and I found the room full of genuine laughter often. The pacing was exciting and during the interval I looked very much forward to sitting back down and continuing the story.

Looking back on the experience now I thoroughly enjoyed the entire show, the performance of the cast was captivating, the set design and direction fascinating and the soundtrack haunting and memorable. I would and have recommended the play to others, though if you are easily scared, there are some moments that make you jump out of your seat. DogOrange's Mary Rose is at Riverside Studios until the 28th April.
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