Lady Chatterley is a kit-off fest at Cambridge Arts Theatre

PUBLISHED: 09:33 23 November 2016 | UPDATED: 09:33 23 November 2016

LADY CHATTERLEY'S LOVER

An English Touring Theatre and Sheffield Theatres production


Writer	D.H.Lawrence 	 
Director	Phillip Breen 	 
Designer	Laura Hopkins	 
Lighting Designer	Natasha Chivers	 
Sound Designer	Andrea J Cox	 
Movement Director	Ayse Tashkiran	 
Casting Director	Charlotte Sutton	 
Associate Director	George Richmond-Scott        	 
Fight Director	Renny Krupinski

Cast

Mrs Flint/ Mrs Bentley/ Singer	
Aretha Ayeh
 
Constance Chatterley	Hedydd Dylan 	
 
Sir Clifford Chatterley	Eugene O'Hare 	 
Michaelis / Trade Unionist / Dan Coutts / Albert Adam                           Will Irvine	 

Sir Malcolm Reid / Mr Linley / Field / Doctor	                                       Ciaran McIntyre	
Pianist	                              David Osmond	 
Oliver Mellors	                    Jonah Russell	 

Ivy Bolton	                              Rachel Sanders	 
Hilda	                             Alice Selwyn

LADY CHATTERLEY'S LOVER An English Touring Theatre and Sheffield Theatres production Writer D.H.Lawrence Director Phillip Breen Designer Laura Hopkins Lighting Designer Natasha Chivers Sound Designer Andrea J Cox Movement Director Ayse Tashkiran Casting Director Charlotte Sutton Associate Director George Richmond-Scott Fight Director Renny Krupinski Cast Mrs Flint/ Mrs Bentley/ Singer Aretha Ayeh Constance Chatterley Hedydd Dylan Sir Clifford Chatterley Eugene O'Hare Michaelis / Trade Unionist / Dan Coutts / Albert Adam Will Irvine Sir Malcolm Reid / Mr Linley / Field / Doctor Ciaran McIntyre Pianist David Osmond Oliver Mellors Jonah Russell Ivy Bolton Rachel Sanders Hilda Alice Selwyn

Photo by Mark Douet

After nearly 90 years, is Lady Chatterley’s Lover still naughty? This adaptation of D.H. Lawrence’s notorious novel at the Arts Theatre, is a veritable kit-off fest as the posh Lady Chatterley gets on down with the earthy gamekeeper Mellors. She does this many many times – one reason why the play is a very long one, almost three hours.

The story as filleted by writer and director Philip Breen, revolves around the young Connie Chatterley, bored and frustrated by living with her tetchy husband the wealthy mine-owning Sir Clifford. He has been paralysed by action in World War One and is trying, unsuccessfully to become a playwright. Connie’s sexual frustrations boil over when she meets the new young gamekeeper, the macho working-class Mellors. It’s lust at first sight and it’s not long before shirts, drawers and everything else is removed and the simulated bonking begins.

It would be lovely to say that the lengthy drama was as exciting as Lady C’s birthday-suited liaisons in the woods with her lower class lover. Though the production has many strong points, it has some serious flaws.

Besides the over-leisurely pace, the design and set is a major disappointment: black drapes and a grey curtain, a pointless on-stage piano cast members seem to wander on and off at will and the lighting design seems remarkably unambitious. There is little to suggest the two contrasting worlds between haves and have-nots. Bitty, super-short scenes, ungainly props shifting and colourless design all serve to give the production a dull and unfocused look.

The redeeming feature here is the relationship between Lady C, subtly played by Hedydd Dylan and the gamekeeper, an impressive Jonah Russell. They capture the needy relationship as it grows from erotic to tender love.

Though Breen takes chunks out of D H’s philosophical passages thus making the dialogue often sound clunky, the actors build real sexual chemistry out of what begins as awkward, almost teenage, fumbling. The best scene is that resembling a kind of Garden of Eden with a flower-bedecked stage and little floral tributes placed in all sorts of intimate spots on the naked couple. It’s both beautiful, and yes, still rather naughty.

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