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Review: The Lady of the Camellias, at Waterloo East Theatre

Spectacular stage adaptation of Alexander Dumas’ semi-autobiographical tragic love story

15 March, 2019 — By Jack Courtney O’Connor

Ashleigh Cole and Jenny Runacre in Lady of the Camellias. Photo: Gareth Mcleod

There have been many adaptations of the French writer Alexander Dumas’s novel La Dame aux Camélias including the opera La Traviata and the silent classic picture of the same title with Sarah Bernhardt.

Cloud Downey and Jo Dalton have adapted Lady for the stage with Downey playing the narrator in a Cabaret-esque style.

The two-act play set in Paris in the mid-19th century is a semi-autobiographical piece with the talented Ashleigh Cole playing the lady of the title, Marguerite, whose character was based on Marie Gautier, the real-life lover of Dumas.

Marguerite is a courtesan who falls in love with a young bourgeois, Armand Duval (Jason Plessas), but is dissuaded by her sagacious friend and mentor – the allegorically named Prudence (a welcome return to the stage by the screen actress Jenny Runacre) – from continuing the relationship.

Armand’s father (nicely played by Nicholas Mackie) threatens the lovers with disinheritance if they proceed with their “unholy” relationship, as does Baron De Varville (Mark Shaer) Marguerite’s patron. She is torn as to what decision to make.

The play is directed and designed by Cloud Downey, with costumes by Atelier Nuage and jackets by Zandra Rhodes.

Dedicated to the memory of its co-writer Jo Dalton, this spectacular show has much visual interest – and recommended.

Until March 24
020 7928 00


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