Since we don't normally see The Gate productions, the lovely MK was there on the opening night last Tuesday and kindly wrote this guest review for us.
The Gate's production of Daphne du Maurier's My Cousin Rachel delivers
on the promises of its poster. The Gothic suspense is filled with
sexual tension and ambiguity. The audience never know who is telling
the truth in this tale of either madness or manipulation. Most people,
like myself, are probably unfamiliar with the original story and I think
those people will get the most out of the production. Not knowing the
outcome is always better in a suspense tale of course. The premise is
good and the twists and turns keep the audience guessing until after the
The performances are uniformly impressive but Hannah Yelland in the
title role is exceptional, charming, taunting and mysterious. She is
also convincingly Italian in her mannerism and attitude. Whether it is
the original du Maurier or Joseph O'Connor's adaptation that deserve the
credit the Italian character's dialogue is entirely credible with many
phrases being direct translations from Italian. I also particularly
enjoyed Bosco Hogan and John Cronin as the faithful servants. They
deliver much of the hilarity in a surprisingly funny production, humour
not something I associate readily with du Maurier. Michael Legge plays
the straight role of the intense and confused young man with aplomb.
And it is really this central pairing of Legge and Yelland that make the
whole premise work.
My main quibble with the production is the set. The heavy interior
set reminded me of Jane Eyre but the use of this heavy interior as an
exterior and a beach at that just didn't work. I was unable to suspend
my disbelief and the addition of piles of sand to the living room set
only served to make me feel as if the servants I enjoyed so much were
slacking in their duties. This niggle aside the production is very
entertaining. There are lots of ooh and aah moments and the woman
sitting next to me even asked if I thought we should be taking notes on
how to get a man to eat out of your hand. Whether you need to take
notes or not, it's an enjoyable evening.
My Cousin Rachel runs at the Gate until 19th May. Tickets are €15 - €32.