Cranford, The Stables Theatre, Hastings. October 19 to 27. Review by Rick Pryce.
MARTYN Coleman’s stage adaptation of the 1853 novel by Elizabeth Gaskell recounts the stories following the death of Miss Matty’s elder sister Deborah. Events unfold within Miss Matty’s modest parlour, which was represented by a simple set, reflecting the limited means of the village ladies.
In the role of Miss Matilda Jenkyn, Dorothy Barlow was undeniably her own Miss Matty, from start to finish - the result of good casting and direction and an assured performance. Her friend Miss Pole, was ably and humorously played by Katy Worobec, with her companions Miss Barker (Janet McCarter) and Mrs Forrester (Josie Body) both enjoying themselves in the best gossiping stakes. Concerns that any production of the show would seek to imitate the BBC television series quickly became irrelevant as the production, directed by Julia Dance, found its own way to tell the story.
The cast engaged and charmed with good timing, expressive humour and commendable costumes as the community of Cranford came wonderfully to life on the Stables stage.