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Stunning Visuals and Stellar Performances in 'Great Expectations'

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Jaime Paige, Deborah Strang, and Jason Dechert in Great Expectations (Photo courtesy of A Noise Within)
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A Noise Within is rounding out the last few weeks of 2010 with Neil Bartlett’s stage adaptation of Great Expectations. Bartlett’s rehashing of the pithy Charles Dickens classic is a threadbare blitz of plot snapshots flanked by a blaring Greek chorus. This progressive presentation rapidly undulates with graceful visual gratification and an outstanding performance from Los Angeles stage newcomer Jason Dechert.Geoff Elliott and Julia Rodriguez-Elliott direct an impressively complex delirium of highly choreographed scenes anchored by a hearty cast. The Barlett adaptation of Great Expectations may confuse theatre goers unfamiliar with the novel, but shortcomings in this arena are chiefly offset by intriguing directorial choices, jaw-dropping costuming, and the nimbly fluid transformation of spartan set abstractions.

The stellar Dechert, a promising new face at A Noise Within, leads the cast as Pip. His performance brims with spirited nuance as he vigorously injects subtle strength into Pip’s growing humility. Dechert gives an artfully grounding performance full of elocutionary brawn punctuated by sympathetically delivered emotive generosity. Deborah Strang also gives a notable performance as Miss Havisham. Strang is utterly haunting and brilliantly sinister as she croaks out cruelties caked with bone-chilling apathy.