Tess of the D’Urbervilles at New Wimbledon StudioCultureTheatre
The story follows young Tess Durbeyfield, played by Jessica Daley, a poor girl who comes from the line of the well-off D’Urbervilles. In search of help from her distant kinsfolk she meets with her supposed cousin, Alec D’Urberville (Martin Neely). Alec has no intention of helping Tess, but in turn changes the course of her life – forever.
Tess of the D’Urbervilles debuts in the 80-seat black box theatre, New Wimbledon Studio, for the best part of a month. This will surely bring the ever-applauding audiences something to look forward to. The songs in this performance fit in very snugly with the acting as some of the scripted dialogue is sung, though attempting to listen to three or four voices sing different parts simultaneously might only be a successful endeavour for the trained ear.
The performance lasts over 2 hours, yet that was not enough time to cover the original story in detail. Loveless works hard to highlight the key themes that are present in the book, thus the performance depicts a very, very dark tale. Rape, murder and execution are but a few of the terrible things Tess experiences, and the audience share in them while watching her. Emotions were high as the sounds of sorrowful sobbing could be heard from the audience. As for staging, as the backdrop changed under the clever lighting, that which went unnoticed under the brighter lights really came to life in the midst of a smoky and dim night, which really complemented the depth of the performance.
Daley, Neely and Nick Hayes are the stars of Tess of the D’Urbervilles, and along with the eight other brilliantly talented actors and musicians, make this show a success. Being only inches away from the audience they managed to stay utterly focused, even when the nearness caused those in the front row to display their nervousness at the intensity. Overall, a magnificent performance.
Tess of the D’Urbervilles is on at New Wimbledon Studio until 27th September 2014, for further information or to book visit here.