Dorothea’s Story – January 2014

Experience: 8/10

Adapted by Geoffrey Beevers from the novel by George Eliot

Directed by Geoffrey Beevers

Venue: Orange Tree Theatre

Date: Monday 6th January 2014

This is the first part of The Middlemarch Trilogy adapted by Geoffrey Beevers from the novel by George Eliot. We’re booked for parts two and three on consecutive days, and already I’m keen to see how some of these characters develop when viewed from a fresh perspective. Today’s offering was very entertaining, with more humour than I’d expected; a TV adaptation years ago had left me with the impression that the story was dreadfully dull and the characters mostly unpleasant and uninteresting, and I’m delighted to report that that assessment was completely wrong. These characters were clearly drawn but not superficial or stereotypical; I could sympathise with many of them while still being aware of their flaws, and I certainly cared enough to want to know what happened to each of them through the twists and turns of a fairly complex plot.

This opening story concentrated on Dorothea and her unhappy marriage to Mr Casaubon, the rector of Lowick. We started off by seeing two potential suitors for Dorothea’s hand: the aforementioned Mr Casaubon and Sir James Chettam, a neighbour of Dorothea’s uncle and one of the local gentry. I don’t know if there are any other suitors in the novel, but these two worked very well to show us Dorothea’s major character flaw – a fanatical yearning for self-sacrifice in a noble cause (poor girl). Naturally with that obsession on her part, plus a reasonable amount of intelligence, she saw the decaying but intellectual Casaubon as a veritable babe magnet compared to the relatively straightforward (and much younger) country squire Sir James.

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