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My Cousin Rachel at the Theatre Royal Windsor

Published by: Clare Brotherwood on 29th Jun 2016 | View all blogs by Clare Brotherwood

As leading lady Jessica Kent told the opening night audience, the Theatre Royal Windsor is spearheading repertory theatre, keeping rep alive - and so may it continue.

The fourth in the Windsor Repertory Festival of six plays in six weeks is still drawing in the locals as company members continue to show their versatile talents.

This week they are taking us to 19th century Cornwall where Daphne du Maurier created the story of Philip Ashley. Philip’s life drastically changes when his older cousin Ambrose, who has brought him up, travels to Florence where he meets and marries a long lost cousin - and then suddenly dies.

What follows is a mystery romance, which some say is better than Rebecca, as suspicion and rival jealousies turn everyone’s world upside down.

The play gets off to a strong start with some magnificent thunder and lightning, but on the opening night the incidental music did sometimes end too suddenly instead of fading away and the sound effects of horses hooves also came and went too suddenly and gave the riders no time to dismount and appear at the door.

The strongest performance comes from Tim McFarland as Philip who, despite wearing a costume which is too big for him, gives his all as a lively young pup who lets his heart rule his head with a childish passion.

Charlotte Haines, though a bit too quietly spoken for some ears, is perfect as the daughter of Philip’s guardian - a proper young lady but with jealousies bubbling just below the surface.

In this rather dark tale, it is the servants, Seecombe and James, who are particularly memorable, however, injecting a much needed dose of comedy. Jeremy Bennett as Seecombe, is your archetypal old retainer while Stanley Eldridge almost overdoes it as the slow-witted younger servant James.

My Cousin Rachel is at the Theatre Royal Windsor until July 2. The Windsor Repertory Festival then continues with:

July 5-9: The Ladykillers

July 12-16: Pygmalion

Box Office: 01753 853888



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