REVIEW – Mary Rose at Riverside Studios

Last week I attended the press night of Mary Rose at Riverside Studios.

Mary Rose, based on the novel by J.M Barrie, tells the story of a girl who goes missing on a mysterious island, only to return unaware of what happened and completely unchanged from before her disappearance. 

The show really does set itself up to be horrifying, based on the poster and the set and lighting choices. However, I think in order to find it terrifying you need to put yourself in the mind of a Victorian audience. I found the show built up an awful lot of tension through the first half an hour, only for it to not be that scary in the end. However, it is beautifully acted and very true to the time it was written – you don’t need the “scare factor” to enjoy this show. 

Jessie Cave plays the title role beautifully, capturing the childlike innocence of the character perfectly, even towards the end of the show when the situation is quite changed. Carsten Hayes plays her husband, Simon and portrayed perfectly the confusion that you might imagine the character would have had about what happened to his wife on that island. One choice I did not understand, however, was why the chorus of “spirits” almost seemed as if they were vomiting at points – not sure! 

All in all an enjoyable production that harks back to the constant fears of the Victorian middle classes. Beautifully acted, staged perfectly for the genre and worth the money for the ticket. 

Mary Rose is playing at the Riverside Studios until 28 April. For more information and tickets –  Riverside Studios website.

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