404 Strand, London WC2R 0NH

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Great Expectations

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Closed March 30, 2013

A striking piece of theatre

The Telegraph

Why See Great Expectations?


Charles Dickens' classic coming-of-age novel takes to the stage in this riveting West End revival. Turning the 600-page classic into a two-hour play is no mean feat and playwright Jo Clifford achieves the task with aplomb by transplanting the far-reaching action into a single room; the play is set in Miss Havisham 's cobwebbed dining room while a grown-up Pip looks back to his youth.

Memories are made flesh as the ghosts of Pip's past play out important moments in his life - there is certainly a Tim Burton-esque feel to the play, reflected in the white faces, black lipstick and gothic dress of the story's crooked Dickensian characters as they are conjured up by Pip to converse in colourful cockney accents.


As a young child, the orphaned Pip lives with his sister and her husband, the village blacksmith. While roaming the marshes he encounters an escaped convict who coerces him into fetching food and tools to free him from his irons. He is later captured, but never reveals that Pip helped him.

A few years later, Pip is sent to entertain the embittered Miss Havisham, a spectral jilted bride, and her adopted daughter, Stella. Pip instantly falls in love with the glacial Stella, who states baldly that she can never love anybody. Dismissed from Miss Havisham's service, a disappointed Pip sets out to become an apprentice blacksmith when he receives a large sum of money from a mysterious benefactor, an event that will change Pip's fortunes and fate.

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Additional Information


Previews from: 1 February 2013

Opening night: 11 February 2013


Great Expectations is suitable for audiences aged 12 and upwards

Run time

Two hours and 20 minutes with one interval

Cast and Creative


Paula Wilcox as Miss Havisham
Paul Nivison as adult Pip 
Taylor Jay-Davies as young Pip
Jack Ellis as Jaggers
Chris Ellison as Magwitch



Written by Charles Dickens
Adaptation Jo Clifford
Conceived and Directed by Graham McLaren
Set by Robin Peoples
Costume by Annie Gosney & Graham McLaren
Couture by Giovanni Bedin for House of Worth
Lighting by Kai Fischer
Original Score by Simon Slater
Sound by Matt McKenzie
Movement by Marcello Magni


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