JAMAICA INN by daphne du maurier

12 Nov

Jamaica Inn
By Daphne Du Maurier
Tabard Theatre
Daphne Du Maurier’s creepy thriller set in deepest Cornwall is Adapted by Lisa Evans and Directed by Anastasia Revi.
It is a play heavily dependent on the set by Maira Vazou and atmospheric lighting by Ben Jacobs. Jonathan Bratoeff provides appropriate music and much of the wreckers’ scenes are sung through – adding to the general strangeness of the country side and the images of men working on the ocean, wrecking and murdering for the richness on board ships.
Kinberley Jarvis plays Mary Yellan the innocent (to begin with) heroine who has merely come to Jamaica Inn to take care of her half mad Aunt Patience. She reckons without the cruel man Joss Merlyn, who is married to her Aunt. He has beaten her into submission and she clings to him submissively and with the love of an illtreated animal – hoping for a few crumbs of kindness if she joins in his nefarious crimes. Helen Bang has her own sweetness which she brings to bear in the character of Aunt Patience. It is no wonder that Mary wants to help her, but does not know how as her aunt is so obsessed by her love for the bullying husband. An interesting casting note – both Mary and her Aunt have exactly the same shade of Titian hair. Is it an accident or where they chosen for their appearance? Even if that is the case, it succeeds brilliantly as they both did a great job in their varied roles.
Mary is made of stronger material than her Aunt. She has been running a farm on her own and she considers she has equal strength of any man. She is apprehensive but not fearful of the wreckers who come to the pub to get drunk before every wrecking. Josh protects her from molestation,– and in a way admires her courage and confidence.
Another man is secretly part of her life. Joss’s younger brother, the horse thief, played by Samuel Lawrence– he and his Brother are not on speaking terms, so he only calls when he knows his brother is absent. He is a much friendlier and kinder person than Joss and treats Mary with a measure of respect. As does her other champion she meets while lost on the moors –( which happens quite often – not surprising) He is the strangely pallid local Vicar played by Peter Rae.
This is a thriller that actually thrills and nothing turns out to be as it seems. It is often difficult to work out where they are and the time scales of the plot. This probably cannot be helped with such a big melodrama on such a small stage and with so many of the cast doubling up .
But the show is as creepy and thrilling and one feels very satisfied by the ending after all the traumas are over and the true culprits are revealed.

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