Andy Arnold takes his final bow as Artistic Director of Glasgow’s Tron Theatre tackling a meaty Dickens classic with a uniquely Scottish twist.
Dickens’ coming of age drama follows orphan Pip on his journey from absolute poverty to high society by the aid of twisted recluse Miss Haversham.
A gritty tale about class, family and weird spiteful women, Nae Expectations is a delightfully entertaining piece that brings Dickens to relevance for a discerning 21st Century audience.
Adapted by Gary McNair, Dickens story finds a bit more bite – updating the stuffy narrative to a much more punchy (and coarse) affair.
This tartan-tinged drama is effortlessly anchored by Gavin Jon Wright, who bursts onto stage with an immense energy and infectious wit as protagonist Pip.
Set the bleak and miserable life he escapes, comic relief is in plentiful supply. Karen Dunbar’s weird and wonderful Miss Haversham blurs the boundaries between hilarity and insanity.
Dunbar’s trademark humour is clear to see – and with plenty of flared nostrils and absurd expressions, audiences are sure to be tickled by this performance.
This all-star supporting cast enjoys beautifully bleak – perfectly paired with the tender and loving Simon Donaldson’s Kelvin Pocket.
Grant Smeaton’s deliciously posh Mr Pumblechook is a real scene-stealer, whose ability to (metaphorically!) gargle marbles while getting gradually more sloshed is worth your ticket price alone.
It’s a testament to McNair’s adaptation that such a dark and depressing tale could be so uplifting, but it’s these larger-than-life characters who allow it to be so.
As final bows go, Andy Arnold has made his count – and will leave his time at the Tron to triumphant applause.
Nae Expectations at Tron Theatre, Glasgow until Saturday 4th November 2023