A first for me: never previously appeared in a Victorian melodrama, though arguably An Inspector Calls was not too far off (set in 1912). Period potboilers are of course designed to elicit an emotional response from their audience – arguably so is any play, but these tragedies tug on the heartstrings big time.
For an actor, this is a joy to behold – emoting is what we love doing best of all! That said, there is a fine line between rendering a tear in the eye and going so far over the top you lose all credibility. This production got it pretty much right, by deliberately choosing to play for real and not doing the full melodrama. It’s also more stylised and theatrical adaptation, courtesy of Lisa Evans at the Birmingham Rep. It keeps the action and intrigue going at a cracking pace.