The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre.
December 29, 30, 2007 – January 2, 3, 4 & 5, 2008.
by Ian Mullins adapted from the novel by Charles Dickens
Kevin Isaac & Tony Brownings
Miles Bland – David Copperfield, as a boy
Ryan Lainchbury – David Copperfield, as a young man
Tony Brownings – David Copperfield, as the narrator
Diane Robinson – Betsy Trotwood, David’s aunt
Helen Brewster – Clara, David’s mother
Natalie Colgate – Peggotty, Copperfield’s maid servant
Peter Thompson – Barkis, a coachman
Bob Ryder – Mr. Peggotty, Peggotty’s brother, a Yarmouth fisherman
Richard Bulling – Ham, Mr. Peggotty’s nephew
Sophie Lane – Little Emily – Mr. Peggotty’s niece
Helen Brewster – Martha, Emily’s friend
Joan Bearman – Mrs. Gummidge, a member of the Peggotty household
John Garland – Mr. Murdstone, David’s stepfather
Judith Berrill – Jane Murdstone, his sister
Guy Steddon – Mr. Creakle, Headmaster
Stuart Isaac – Tungay, his assistant
Hugo Harwood – Traddles, as a school friend
Tom Harris – Steerforth, as a school friend
Stuart Isaac – Traddles, as a young man
Guy Steddon – Steerforth, as a young man
David Creedon – Mr. Micawber
Sue Chaplin – Mrs. Micawber, his wife
Morgan Jones – Dora
Judith Berrill – Aunt Lavinia
Sue Chaplin – Aunt Clarissa
Ray Hopper – Mr. Dick, companion to Aunt Betsey
Lynda Mostyn – Janet, Housekeeper to Aunt Betsey
Derek Fraser – Mr. Wickfield, a laywer
Kirsty Biss – Agnes, daughter of Mr. Wickfield
Charlotte Roberts – Agnes, as a young woman
Adrian Kenward – Uriah Heep, Mr. Wickfield’s clerk
Hugo Larwood – Waiter
Tom Harris – Sailor
Stage Manager – David Comber
ASM – Olive Smith
Technical Stage Manager – Tanya Courtnadge
Lighting Design – Mike Medway
Sound Operator – Philip Oliver
Properties – Margaret Davy
Properties – Sue Whittaker
Wardrobe – Cherry Briggs
Wardrobe – Maggi Pierce
Set & Technical Team – David Comber
Set & Technical Team – Richard Bulling
Set & Technical Team – Dave Collis
Set & Technical Team – Sue Chaplin
Set & Technical Team – Mark Flower
Set & Technical Team – Sheila Neesham
Set & Technical Team – Judith Berrill
Press & Publicity – Rosemary Bouchy
Press & Publicity – Lucien Bouchy
Press & Publicity – Rosemary Brown
Poster & Programme Design – Judith Berrill
Production Photos – Lucien Bouchy
Box Office – Margaret Murrell
Front of House Co-ordinator – Betty Dawes
Programme Note #1: David Copperfield
KI wrote: “Like many fond parents,” wrote Charles Dickens, “I have in my heart of hearts a favourite child. And his name is David Copperfield.”
Hugely admired by Tolstoy, David Copperfield is the novel that draws more closely from Charles Dicken’s own life. Its eponymous hero, orphaned as a boy, grows up to discover love and happiness, heartbreak and sorrow, amid a cast of eccentrics, innocents, and villains. Praising Dickens’ power of invention, Somerset Maugham wrote: “There were never such people as the Micawbers, Peggotty and Barkis, Traddles, Betsey Trotwood and Mr. Dick, Uriah Heep and his mother. They are fantastic inventions of Dickens’s exultant imagination …. you can never quite forget them.”
Bringing a novel the size and complexity of David Copperfield to the stage has been a long, involved and extremely enjoyable journey. From the early days of working with this adaptation, designing the set, onto casting and rehearsals; every step has been a different challenge and an eye-opening experience. Tony Brownings and I have worked together with a fantastic cat and amazing back-stage and support team to bring to life this epic tale. We hope you enjoy it. To quote Virginia Woolf – David Copperfield – the most perfect of all the Dickens novels.”
Review #1: David Copperfield
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: Unknown
Reviewer: Sam Woodman
Text Header: Unknown
One of Charles Dickens’ best- known works was brought to life on stage last week, as Wick Theatre Company performed David Copperfield at Southwick’s Barn Theatre. Thought to be the most autobiographical of all Dickens’ novels, the story was adapted for the stage by Ian Mullins and the production directed by Kevin Isaac and Tony Brownings. The trials and tribulations of the show’s titular character was played out, from his childhood through adolescence and into a working young man. The young David, played by Miles Bland, suffered the cruelties of his stepfather, Mr. Murdstone [John Garland], and headmaster Mr. Creakle [Guy Steddon], and then employment in a rat-infested warehouse.
David’s escape saw him seek refuge with his aunt Betsey [Diane Robinson] and met a wide variety of friendly folk, including the Peggoty family, ‘child wife’ Dora [Morgan Jones], Mr. Micawber, delightfully played by David Creedon. Adrian Kenward was also entertaining as the villain of the piece, the cadaverous Uriah Heep, with Natalie Colgate, as the maid Peggoty, and the characters of Traddles and Steerforth [played by Hugo Harwood and Stuart Isaac, and Tom Harris and Guy Steddon respectively] cropped up throughout the years.
As the character of David Copperfield aged, so did the actor playing him, with Ryan Lainchbury acting out the rôle of David as a young adult. Tying everything up was Tony Browning, playing David Copperfield as a narrator, and leading the audience through his younger years.
Clever stage design meant one set acted as the play’s numerous locations, including David’s boyhood home, the Rookery [with its distinct absence of rooks …], Mr. Micawber’s lodgings and the legal practice of Mr. Wickfield [Derek Fraser].
David Copperfield may have suffered slightly from its length, but the only solution would have been to cut some parts of the tale, depriving audiences of the story and the actor’s performances. Staging such a well-known and well-loved tale, with such a large cast, might have been ambitious, but those ambitions were realised by Wick.
Review #2: David Copperfield
Publication: Brighton Argus
Publication Data: Unknown
Reviewer: Barrie Jerram
Text Header: Unknown
Dickens’ epic tale, a bold choice by the Wick Theatre Company, sadly, proves to be an over ambitious one. Judged by the company’s past, high standard this production falls short. The original novel provides a vast canvas that sparkles with life whereas this adaptation, truncated into short scenes, is lacking in vitality. The production is ponderous with many scenes merely lifeless tableaux.
The large cast is of mixed acting ability. At one end there is inaudibility and the mere reciting of lines, as opposed to speaking them with understanding and feeling, whilst at the other end there are some quality performances.
Amongst these Diane Robinson gives a feisty performance as Betsey Trotwood whilst Natalie Colgate is a warm and down to earth Peggoty. Adrian Kenward provides the required repulsiveness of Uriah Heep and is matched by the sweetness and goodness of Ray Hopper’s Mr. Dick – two portrayals that are truly Dickensian.