Theatre review: Rebecca
Du Maurier classic gets fun makeover from Kneehigh
Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca is renowned as a classic thriller of love and jealousy. But Kneehigh's treatment of it in this touring show gives it a light, almost camp touch. It's a fun, frolicky evening but might disappoint fans of the book's darker side.
The new Mrs De Winter (here played by a delightful Imogen Sage) arrives at Manderlay with her husband, Maxim (Tristan Sturrock), to an odd welcome. The ghost of the first Mrs De Winter – Rebecca – haunts the impressive house, and she becomes convinced that Maxim is still in love with her. In particular, she comes up against the formidable Mrs Danvers (Emily Raymond), who is obsessed with her former mistress and will do anything to keep her memory alive.
The chemistry between Sage and Sturrock is just right, her jealousy and his fits of anger keeping the audience sufficiently on edge. It's wonderfully atmospheric too: Leslie Travers' design is impressive, filling the stage and inviting the audience into the heart of Manderlay and the forbidding sea at which Rebecca met her death.
Emma Rice's slick direction means the evening skips along – perhaps a little too quickly. It doesn't linger on the darker heart of the story, and feels a lot less like a thriller than, say, Alfred Hitchcock's 1940 film.
But Rice's adaptation is certainly an entertaining night out, one that gives Du Maurier's story a good shake and a new, more fun angle.
Reviewed at the King's Theatre, Edinburgh.