NODA Review: The Woman in White

NODA Review: The Woman in White

This production of The Woman in White was adapted for the stage by Constance Cox from Wilkie Collins’
classic 1860 novel. The story is considered to be among the first mystery novels and is widely regarded by
many critics as one of the first, and finest, in the genre of ‘sensation novels’, focusing on subject matter such
as kidnapping, insanity, forgery and seduction. It works well on the stage and as such has been a popular
choice for amateur societies over the years.
This is a tale of disturbing intrigue with elements of romance and comedy of a young girl, the heiress Laura
Fairlie, and Sir Percival Glyde, who is hounding her for her fortune aided by the Count Fosco. The plot is
complicated by her half-sister Marion Halcombe and the art teacher Walter Hartright as they come to her
aid, along with the question of who is the mysterious woman in white?
The play is set in the Drawing Room of Limmeridge Hall, Cumberland in 1861. The open stage showing an
impressive set designed by John Hadley with authentic period furniture and props, courtesy of Penny
Hartley and Anita Marshall, gave the early arrivals to the auditorium much to look at and appreciate. The
lighting was well designed with some nice authentic looking lamps which worked on cue. I did expect the
lovely chandelier and wall brackets to do the same but disappointingly that wasn’t the case. The Victorian
costumes too looked equally authentic and were handled well with poise as the actors moved around the
set. The acting area was well used and the cast negotiated the myriad pieces of furniture without mishap.
There was a couple of masking problems when eight or nine of the cast were on at the same time but this
was minimal.
Each member of the cast fulfilled their roles well and gave us very believable characterisations, with good
clear diction providing plenty of intrigue and conspiracy as well as a few lighter moments.

Walter Hartright was played by MATTHEW TATUM who, in a good confident performance, gave great warmth
to his character, LORY COSNER as Marion Halcombe played an indignant feisty woman convincingly and
CHRIS BRIGHTY as Frederick Fairlie the grumpy hypochondriac uncle handled his comedy lines well although
I was a bit taken aback by the way he shouted throughout – obviously not as ill as he wished us to think! He
was pushed around in the “ancient” wheelchair by his dutiful yet silent nurse Louis played with graceful
patience by KERRY LA PORTE. ANDY MCGOWAN played the evil Sir Percival Glyde with menace developing
well as the character begins to unravel. APRIL COOK as the loyal House keeper Mrs Vesey gave a lovely
caring characterisation. ANDY COSNER played the Solicitor Mr Gilmore, who also gave an unusually caring
solicitor character portrayal, but here again I was disturbed by an overly loud delivery. Annoyance, anger
and irascibility can also be conveyed by quiet menace. Anger needs to build and if it starts loud there is
nowhere left to go. TREVOR KARTUPELIS as the Count Fosco played both sides of his character well, friendly,
devious and full of menace and I commend Mr Kartupelis on his most consistent Italian accent. An excellent
performance. TERESA BARON looking elegant as Countess Fosco had few lines but she rolled a mean
cigarette! We were treated to a super cameo performance by TANYA COLLINS as Mrs Catherick. It is hard
to come on for part of a scene towards the end of the play and make an impact but with a good strong
portrayal this is exactly what Ms Collins did. Top of the tree though was KATHY BULLOCK in the dual role as
the heiress Laura Fairley and the tragic Anne Catherick (the Woman in White) who gave a superb
performance throughout without once succumbing to the temptation to be melodramatic.

Congratulations to directors Kate Nolan & Liz Rolph and all involved for providing an absorbing and
intriguing evening of theatre.
Julie Petrucci
Regional Representative
NODA East District Four South