Lady Chatterley’s Lover – Orchard Theatre, Dartford. 20.02.2020

Another week, another lucky viewing and tonight’s would by my second play of the year. Along with this also, it would be the first viewing of a new Tilted Wig production, Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

Lady Constance Chatterley has found herself trapped in a loveless marriage. Her husband Clifford Chatterley injured in battle, is unable to satisfy the sexual desires of his wife and so she finds herself in the arms of another man their gamekeeper Oliver Mellors. As the passionate love affair between Constance and Mellors reaches it’s climax, the constraints of a class-led society are broken down and the two lovers unexpectedly find a fulfilment never experienced before.

Based on the D.H. Lawrence 1925 novel of the same name, the book itself however was banned from sale until 1960. It then went on to make headlines due to its frank and explicit depiction of sex and its portrayal of a passionate and adulterous love affair. You could say it was the Fifty Shades of Grey of its time, as it is years ahead and deals with sexual taboos that we still see in todays society.

Having not known much about the story, I felt it was performed beautifully and engaging to all. Adapted by Claran McConville, his telling of the story is powerful that shows not only the effects that war can have on those who fought it but also how love is not from the mind alone and that we all have be alive physically as well. Katie Lias the designer of the production also compliments Claran’s take on the story perfectly, set within the trench in a war ground although the majority of the story is based in an estate in the English countryside. This alone showed the aftermath and impact of what the Great War had on Clifford and the other characters, how it looms over them and holds them captive. This along with the ghost of Clifford’s comrades, who are used as narrators throughout the action on stage is a stunning and unique set, that I absolutely loved.

The cast tonight were:

Oliver Mellors – Rupert Hill

Constance Chatterley – Phoebe Marshall

Clifford Chatterley – Mark Hawkins

Hilda, Ivy, Elsa – Bethan Nash

Michaelis & Parish – Tom Richardson

Tommy & Brangwen – Daniel Goode

Betts & Soldier – Guy Dennys

Phoebe Marshall, Constance was excellently portrayed, throughout you could see each emotion she was having and felt it with her. The pain of wanting to do what is best for her husband but knowing that she herself has needs and a chance of a true love she never thought would exist. She was lovely to watch, along with her relationship with Oliver Mellors played by Rupert Hill. His tough man act was very believable but his softness that grows between him and Phoebe was true. It was beautiful to watch, he wasn’t too bad on the eye – as some of the members of audience vocalised when he came in without his top on!

Mark Hawkins portrayal of Clifford Chatterley was moving, he truly portrayed the mind of a soldier in the war and the suffering they went through when they returned. His desperation to keep Constance was so clear to try and hold onto something that wasn’t within the war that loomed over him and the soldiers that left. Those soldiers played by, Bethan Nash, Tom Richardson, Daniel Goode all showed their amazing acting ability by changing within the variety of roles they were given.

Going in, not knowing what to expect and came out happy and very much enjoyed my viewing.

Being the launch and opening of the play, it plays at the Orchard Theatre until Saturday 22nd February but it now goes on to embark on its UK tour for all dates and venues go here. If it comes near to you, go and see it – you wont be disappointed.

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