The Go-Between

Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich

In LP Hartley's famous Norfolk- inspired novel, we are whirled into a secret romance between a farmer and the lady of the manor.

All is seen through the eyes of a young boy, Leo Colston, who acts as their messenger or 'go between'. The lustful letters he carries become his right of passage.

It is a subtly comic and potentially tragic novel that has inspired more than one adaptation: the film of 1971 gave leading roles to Alan Bates and Julie Christie.

Roger Parsley's stage version brought us an idyllic vision of Edwardian Dereham in which rot was at work under the surface. The symbolic set gave a fine sense of fin de siècle grandeur - a vast glass- house with broken window panes.

The comic irony of upper class hypocrisy was precisely played by Matthew Williamson and Daniel Humphreys.

Their depiction of toffee-nosed boys never strayed into two-dimensional caricature.

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Carol Thornton as the domineering matriarch was a fine, strong-boned woman in the mould of a Henry James heroine and her femme fatale daughter, played by Louise Brighton, kicked up a convincing storm.

t The Go-Between continues at the Maddermarket until Saturday February 28 (not Sunday). Box office: 01603 620917.

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