Jane Austen adapted by Jessica Swale
Where and When
14th – 17th July 2022 @ Deans Court, Wimborne
When their wealthy half-brother cheats them of their fortune, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood are left penniless. They are forced to leave the comforts of Norland Park and relocate to chilly Barton Cottage in Devonshire, but when John Willoughby, a handsome stranger, arrives one day with a rain-drenched Marianne in his arms, the sisters are convinced that their fortunes are changed forever.
- Elinor Dashwood – Michelle Barter
- Marianne Dashwood – Jo Eva Edington
- Margaret Dashwood – Bethan Morris
- Mrs Dashwood – Judy Garrett
- John Dashwood / Robert Ferrars – Colin Pile
- Fanny Dashwood – Sali Pike
- Thomas / Mr Perks / Dr Harris – Callum Hearne
- Edward Ferrars – James Renwick
- Mrs Jennings – Heather Birchenough
- Sir John Middleton – Tony Parkinson
- Colonel Brandon – Gary Paine
- John Willoughby – Rob Cording-Cook
- Mr Palmer – Richard Scotson
- Mrs Palmer – Lindsay McGowan
- Lucy Steele – Jemma Cable
- Miss Grey – Kelly Webb / Tracey Nicholls (Sat only)
- Director – Tracey Nicholls
- Assistant Director – Tracie Billington-Beardsley
- Stage Manager – Dee Hawes
- Set Design – Tracey Nichols, Dee Hawes and Tracie Billington-Beardsley
- ASMs – Jenny Hughes and Amanda Senitt
- Sound – David Beddard-Banks and Heather Seaton
- Wardrobe, Hair and Make-up – Rosie Nye
- Pianoforte Prop – Colin Pile
- Regency Dance Teacher – Shirley Funnell
- Fight Choreography and Traner – Richard Beckett
- Publicity and Programme – Richard Neal
- Front of House Team – Richard Neal, Chrissie Neal, Simon Jackson, Jan Stevenson, Bob Huckleby, Jackie McGuire, Paul Dodman, Suzanne Viney and Russ Guillaume
Helen Lawrence – Scene One
A truly sumptuous evening, a rather good Shiraz, delicious food including a very tasty pasta, tuna and bean salad made by my companion’s own fair hand and most importantly, for open air theatre, a glorious summer evening. I love costume dramas and this production delivered in every way. My first visit to an open-air theatre since I played a servant in Taming Of The Shrew on Brownsea, probably a couple of decades ago.
Set in the beautiful grounds of this ancient house with fine Georgian facades, one felt you were being invited into a previous age where wealth, circumstance and marriage was of utmost importance. Margaret (Bethan Morris), in her own unique way, brought the audience back to “now” with her childlike comments and inquisitive personality, accompanied by a spontaneous chorus of jackdaw extras at one point.
This story by Jane Austen and adapted by Jessica Swale is so well known and we all have our favourite characters. The humour presented by Mr and Mrs Palmer (Richard Scotson and Lindsay McGowan), the nervousness and humility of Edward Ferrars (James Renwick) and the sense of responsibility and hidden feelings of Elinor Dashwood (Michelle Barter). However, this production feels like a real team effort, a cohesion of individual characters, excellently portrayed by a very professional troupe. Well done to everyone involved and a particular mention to the Director, Tracey Nicholls. Auditions for this performance were held in March 2020 with only one rehearsal before Covid struck, so it has been a long time coming but we are now hopefully coming out of that period and what a lovely way to celebrate with this amazing achievement.
I haven’t been to an outdoor production where the performers were microphone edited and because some scenes overlapped, it was sometimes hard to distinguish who was talking. Nevertheless, the costumes were authentic, the set design enhanced the smoothness of every interaction, and the music gave a richness and depth to the whole performance.
What a delight to have such entertainment on our doorstep.
Marilyn Barber – Dorset View
On a very warm and sunny summer evening what could be better than sitting in the grounds of a beautiful house, being treated to a highly professional production of Sense and Sensibility?
Written by Jane Austen but adapted by British playwright Jessica Swale, it follows the loves, heartaches and subsequent triumph of kindness over material wealth of the three Dashwood sisters who are forced to move with their widowed mother from a big estate to a modest cottage.
Set in the late 18th century the story moves between locations in Sussex, South East England and London, with the creative team of set builders having come up with subtle and innovative set changes.
I would normally pick out a number of performances to highlight but with a large cast of 16 main players, it is impossible to single out particular actors as they all – yes all –put in highly accomplished well rounded portrayals, getting under the skin of their characters. No weak links at all.
Many of the actors have been part of the local am-dram scene for several years, but they interact brilliantly with those who are new to Wimborne and to open air theatre.
The auditions were held in early March 2020 and the cast only managed one rehearsal before lock-down, so this production has been long awaited and it certainly doesn’t disappoint. Huge accolades to director Tracey Nicholls and to the cast of – in order of appearance – Michelle Barter, Jo Eva Edington, Bethan Morris, Judy Garrett, Colin Pile, Sali Pike, Calum Hearne, James Renwick, Heather Bichenough, Tony Parkinson, Gary Paine, Rob Cording-Cook, Richard Scotson, Lindsay McGowan, Jemma Cable and Kelly Webb.