ED2023 Reviews ED2023 Theatre Reviews

Havisham (Emul8 Productions)

By | Published on Monday 21 August 2023

Seen as a forever jilted bride, Miss Havisham is arguably sympathetic enough beneath her desire to break Pip’s heart in Great Expectations. Heather Alexander’s show aims to challenge perceptions of the much-maligned Dickensian villain by explaining her past. The result unfortunately is a melodrama that borders on cruel. Alexander plays the embittered contemporary Havisham well: she stalks the stage and looks pitifully upon her young self. Playing Havisham (who, as in ‘Great Expectations’, is never given a first name here) as a four year old Alexander uses a simpering voice which doesn’t feel immersive. The injustices on the character are many: from religious guilt and shame to being taken advantage of multiple times, the writing feels plain mean. Despite some lyrical turns of phrase, the script feels designed to reflect Havisham as a solely tragic figure and threatens to strip her of agency.

ZOO Playground, until 27 Aug.
tw rating 2/5 | [Louise Jones]