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in Northampton since 1932

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Great Expectations
by Charles Dickens, dramatised by Rob Kendall

Cast & Crew

Young Pip Ambrose Tipping
Able Magwitch
Les Necus
Joe Gargery
Martin Williams
Mrs Joe
Elizabeth Allan
Uncle Pumblechook
Owen Warr
Mr Wopsle
Tony Janney
Mrs Hubble
Margaret Bignell
Mr Hubble
Barry Dougall
Sargeant David Chappell
Nigel Crouch
Young Estella
Megan Centrella (Wed & Fri), Jasmine Smellie (Tue, Thu & Sat)
Miss Havisham Jan Stoppani
Mr Jagger
Ian Clarke
Youthful Pip
Adam Monk
Youthful Estella
Naomi Blackburn (Tue, Thu & Sat), Chloe McCreadie (Wed & Thu)
Youthful Herbert Padraig Condron
Ben Richardson
Bernadette Wood
Adult Pip
Edward Toone
Roger Toone
Doreen Wright
Kevin Pinks
Adult Herbert
Scott Bradley
Bentely Drummle
Peter Roberts
Craig Macphearson
Estella Emily Bale
Dance Master
Barry Dougall
Trabb / Undertaker Craig Macphearson
Rover Constable
Roger Toone
Cell Warder David Chappell
Servants, Dancers, Soldiers, Carol Singers
Ingrid Heymann, Verity Johnson, Craig Macphearson and cast

Director Rob Kendall
Stage Manager
Clare Brittain
Trudy Earl
Costume Pam Mann, Masque Theatre, The Works
Properties Jessica Rost
Lighting Design Richard Walker, The Works
Lighting Technician
Robert Vaughan
Sound Effects Ian Clarke
Margaret Bignell
Box Office & Front of House Masque Theatre
Publicity Ian Clarke
Programme Design
Martin Borley-Cox

Adam Monk and Jan Stoppani in Great Expectations Photo by Ian Clarke

Production No. 376

More images from Great Expectations


Ian Spiby, director

Great Expectations - well that’s the very least I have of the cast of over 30 in this adaption of Charles Dickens’ novel by yours truly. Hopefully Dickens would have approved, especially as I’ve included more of the subplot than you’d see in the atmospheric David Lean film of 1950 (incidentally with a very youthful John Mills as Pip, Alec Guinness as Herbert and Jean Simmons as Estella).

For those of you unfamiliar with the plot, in very simple terms it is a heartfelt warming story of a young man Pip (Ed Toone) who had, as a boy, befriended an escaped convict, Magwitch (Les Necus), and been introduced to Miss Havisham (Jan Stoppani) to play with her adopted daughter, Estella. From this unlikely trio are the beginnings of Pip’s Great Expectations that are to make him a ‘gentleman’.

The action of the play begins on the bleak Kent marshes and moves to London and back. This progress of time is brought to life by a series of incidents and multiple characters as Pip finds his way in the world. Subsequently there are over 30 in the cast including newcomers to Masque as well as the tried and tested - although I have tired to cast against type.

Other than Pip, Magwitch and Miss Havisham in the ‘adult’ roles we have also Emily Bale as the ‘adult’ Estella, Martin Williams (Joe), Liz Allan (Mrs. Joe), Ian Clarke (Jaggers), Kevin Pinks (Wemmick) and Scot Bradley as the adult Herbert( Oberon in 2009‘s A Midsummer Night’s Dream),  as well as a full supporting cast.

As the younger Estella we have ‘newcomer’ Megan Centrella and Jasmine Smellie (MYT), Ambrose Tipping (MYT and Portly in A Midsummer Night’s Dream) ‘young’ Pip, also from MYT Adam Monk, Naomi Blackburn, Padraig Condron and ‘newcomer’ Cloe MacCreadie as ‘teenage’ Estella.

The Christmas atmosphere of the opening scene is enhanced by the live music from Margaret Bignell including ballroom scenes and playing the ‘hornpipe’ for Tony Janney to dance to - which is a wonder to behold!

Stage management is lead by Clare Brittain with costumes from Masque and The Works, with additional individual costumes by Pam Mann. All of which is complemented by lighting and special effects from Richard Walker and The Works and operated by Rob Vaughan.

If the above hasn’t convinced you that it’s a ‘feel good factor’ then take your cue from one of Joe Gargery’s lines: “Wot larks, Pip ol’ chap, wot larks!”

14 - 18 December 2010 at 7.30pm
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Sheep Street, Northampton

Page last updated: 11/03/2012 Masque Theatre © 2012

by Christine Barton

If Good King Wenceslas had looked out on the Church of the Holy Sepulchre between December 14 and 18, he would have had a feast.  Verily, each evening, the cast of the Masque Theatre gave a shining performance to a full audience with Great Expectations.  As one of the scene-setting carols, the Good King helped to transport onlookers back in time to misty moor and dusty mansion.

The classic Dickens tale is the rags to riches story of Pip, who is begrudgingly raised by his older sister and her gentle husband, Joe.  The action begins when Pip visits his mother’s grave on the Kent marshes and is frightened by Magwitch, an escaped convict.  Taking pity on the man, he steals food and drink for him. 

Soon after, he is sent to play with Estella, the adopted daughter of jilted Miss Havisham.  Pip falls in love with the beautiful young girl although she teases and belittles him.  Her unkindness makes him even more determined to win her affection, and he resolves to get an education. 

But when Estella goes abroad, Pip becomes an apprentice to blacksmith Joe.  His luck improves when an anonymous benefactor offers him the opportunity to be a gentleman in London.  In the second Act, the story of the mysterious Miss Havisham unfolds as love-struck Pip turns detective to find out more.  Finally, he discovers why Estella wreaks revenge on the male population, and learns the identity of his wealthy sponsor.

Great Expectations is a delightful tale of mystery and unrequited love, delivered with gusto by a superb cast.  There are moments of humour and endearing performances from many.  Martin Williams is charming as nice-but-dim Joe, and Jan Stoppani plays a chilling Miss Havisham.  But who can resist the whiskered Mr Jaggers as he holds the stage in true 19th Century style; acted warmly by Ian Clarke, or maybe a young Ian Holm?

Rob Kendall’s direction and dramatisation of Great Expectations is a triumph.  With few props and even less set, he recreates a Dickensian world between the stone pillars of the oldest standing building in Northampton.  The venue is atmospheric and the staging innovative.  Who would guess that two men could row convincingly across a tiled floor, with nothing more than period costume and oars, supported by stage mist?  It is an accomplished deceit and a timeless favourite.

What larks, indeed.

A scene from Great Expectations