The Count of Monte Cristo
by Alexandre Dumas
Adapted by Sebastian Baczkiewicz - Dramatised for the stage by Nick Warburton
Directed by Colin Lawrence - Presented by Bawds at The ADC Theatre
Reviewed by Suzanne Jones
Many years ago I remember
seeing a television film version of The Count of Monte Cristo starring Richard
in the lead role of Edmond Dantes. With its complex plot and many different locations,
I felt a little nervous as to how the story could successfully be transferred to the stage.
I need not have worried, as Nick Warburton lifted the
narrative off the page and allowed us to follow the twists
and turns of the plot with relative ease. The simple, but highly effective multifunctional set designed by Barry Brown and
built by Tony Broscomb and The Lolworth Team also helped the development of the story. The master stroke
of using drop down banners really contributed to character and family recognition as the play moved along very swiftly from scene to scene.
Mark Easterfield’s lighting was perfect with the red sky during the battle at sea, the lightning during the storm and what
must have been more lighting cues than you could shake a stick at, all done seamlessly. Chris Hays’ sound effects
were all spot on cue with excellent choices of atmospheric music at just the right moments. Costumes were excellent;
hats off to Costume Supervisor, Rachel Torrens and Hair and the Make-Up Team of Hannah Curtis,
Jenny Brown, Lindsey McAuley, Izzy Rees and Jenny Warburton for what must have been an exhausting time backstage with so many quick costume changes.
There was a lot to be admired in director Colin Lawrence’s production.
You could see the attention to team work that prevailed throughout, from the nicely
judged performance of the ensemble to the smaller cameo roles.
From the moment Guy Holmes stepped on stage as the wronged Edmond Dantes we knew we were in safe hands.
His sure footed and perfectly judged performance kept the play on track. Other noteworthy performances came from
Robin Owen as Young Dantes and Maximilien Morrel, Guy Marshall as Gaspard Caderousse, Peter Simmons
as Gerard de Villefort, Nick Warburton as De Boville and Noirtier, Alex Priestley as Hermine Danglars and Caroline Harbord as Heloise de Villefort.
It was encouraging to see a number of
new faces to the Cambridge drama scene in this large scale
production which had twenty-six in the cast; too many to name individually, they all
contributed to the show’s well-deserved success. I’m sure we’ll see many of the newcomers again in future shows.
My favourite scene was as Edmond and Mercedes said their goodbyes at the end of the play.
Helen Holgate as Mercedes gave us a lovely believable farewell before
leaving to spend the rest of her life in a convent, while Dantes departs for the open sea, to leave France for ever.
If I had any criticism it would be that the play did occasionally cross from high drama to comedy in
a few places, but overall this was a rollicking adventurous night out which
I thoroughly enjoyed as did the capacity audience on the night I saw the show.
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