SARAH SINGLETON looks at a new production of Great Expectations

A GRAVEYARD in the marshes, an aged bride in a dark house, a lonely orphan and an escaped convict – these haunting images from Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations will come to life at the Wyvern Theatre on Monday.

TS Theatre will recreate the classic tale in a one-night performance that is not to be missed. Telling the story of young Pip and his unexpected rise from poverty to wealth, his doomed love and ultimate redemption, Great Expectation explores themes of class and family, of passion, deception and transformation.

The story has been adapted many times for film and television — from David Lean’s 1946 classic with John Mills, to the 2012 version with Helena-Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham. This much-loved classic gives TS Theatre lots of creative opportunities, using the script of Hugh Leonard and a circus-inspired setting.

Laura James, from Swindon, who is the marketing manager at the Wyvern, takes the iconic role of Miss Havisham and says it is her dream come true.

Young Pip is played by Ben Langcaster, 16, and Olly Webb has the role of adult Pip.

Olly has worked at the Wyvern with Prime Theatre and appeared in Journey’s End with the Purton Amateur Dramatic Society, but makes his debut with TS Theatre in this performance.

“I read the novel many years ago and I saw the adaptation with Ray Winstone as Magwitch, and I remember thinking Miss Havisham was such an interesting character,” he said.

“I like that it’s the story of a young boy’s journey but he is not the stereotyped perfect protagonist. He is very flawed and makes many bad decisions. He says the wrong things and falls in love with the wrong person and makes things go wrong for others.”

Olly, 21, from Purton, says the production changes events around from the novel and starts with Pip in London, as a gentleman, before going back in time to earlier events.

“It is quite heavily stylised, so it seemed appropriate to make it stylised visually too,” he says, of the vintage-circus inspired imagery.

Olly is keen to continue working as an actor and a director. He took part in Prime Theatre’s Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme and was assistant director for the Wyvern’s Summer Youth Project production Summer Holiday.

Stalwart of the Swindon acting scene Julian Smith takes the part of Magwitch. He has performed in numerous productions with the Whole Hog Theatre and the Old Town Theatre Company.

The company has previously brought One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest to the Wyvern and, more recently, performed the debut of director Peter Hynd’s original play Four Sunsets at the Swindon Arts Centre. The company has also performed Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and has taken productions to venues around the South West and London.

Tickets fore Great Expectations are £14, £12 concessions and schools £10, available from 01793 524481 or