15 February 2017
Reviewed by Amanda Hayes
The Blue Orange Theatre from Birmingham brought its performance of Lady Chatterley’s Lover to the Studio at The Hawth in Crawley last night. The Studio has an amazing intimate feel and fits perfectly with a small production such as this.
DH Lawrence’s 1928 book Lady Chatterley’s Lover is an extremely well-known love story and the production follows the traditional story line adapted by Roman de Fruscan for the small stage. Five actors play all of the roles in this production all in some part wearing plain masks that allow ages and genders to be changed easily and quickly.
The play begins showing the end of the war as Sir Clifford Chatterley comes back injured and dependant on a wheelchair leaving his newly wed wife Constance to become more of a carer than a wife. Clifford tries to get his life back to what it was before with a constant round of dinner parties with people that he thinks are intellectual and that Constance thinks are very boring indeed.
Constance becomes sick and in a bid to get well again she begins taking walks in the grounds. Here she meets Mellors, the gruff northern gamekeeper and is fascinated by him and missing affection from Sir Clifford starts an illicit affair. Sir Clifford asks that Constance takes a lover to provide him with a son and heir but it soon becomes much more than a quest for a son and they fall in love.
The couple finally get to spend the night together in the gamekeeper’s cottage and their love scenes play out on one half of the stage whilst Sir Clifford and his newly appointed nurse/housekeeper, Mrs Bolton play cards and take tea. Bravely both Constance and Mellors are completely naked throughout this part of the play.
When the affair becomes public, Clifford is horrified to find out she is pregnant by one of his staff, especially as he believes that a child needs to be born into upper classes to do well for himself. She declares her love to Mellors and they decide to be together leaving Clifford alone with Mrs Bolton in the big house. It ends there with no real idea of how everything turns out just Clifford looking like he will live a sad lonely existence.
We saw this production at The Hawth in Crawley which is easy to get to and has plenty of free parking. The bar area is comfortable and relaxing and well stocked with both drinks, snacks & ice creams. You can also book a pre-theatre meal making for a fantastic night out.
My husband and I really enjoyed this production from The Blue Orange Theatre it kept us captivated throughout. Be aware though that the full-frontal nudity highlighted on booking is much more than a quick glimpse. Highly recommended.
Lady Chatterley’s Lover is on tour around the UK until 25 February 2017. For more information and tour dates visit blueorangetheatre.co.uk/project/lady-chatterleys-lover.
For other shows at The Hawth in Crawley visit www.parkwoodtheatres.co.uk.
The Hawth, Hawth Avenue, Crawley, Sussex, RH10 6YZ | 01293 553636