REVIEW: Rebecca. Theatre Royal, Newcastle

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REBECCA has enchanted audiences for almost 80 years.

Daphne du Maurier’s 1938 novel features one of the most famous lines in British fiction: ‘Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”

Master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock was immediately aware of its filmic potential and turned it into an Oscar-winning movie two years later.

Hitch didn’t take too many liberties with the text.

But Cornish company Kneehigh has no such inhibitions with its production in residence at Newcastle’s Theatre Royal until Saturday.

The novel isn’t exactly discarded but it is given a thorough make-over.

And, against all the odds, it works a treat.

Leslie Traver’s sets perfectly evoke a dream-like world on the Cornish coast in the 1920s, where nothing is quite what it seems. It’s a world of madness, decay and jealousy.

The cast, led ably by Tristan Sturrock as Maxim de Winter, the enchanting Imogen Sage as the ‘new’ Mrs de Winter and Emily Raymond as the creepy Mrs Danvers, is faultless, with the creative use of music adding to the tension throughout.

Infused with a fair share of dark and physical humour, Kneehigh’s Rebecca is a brave, rewarding and thoroughly entertaining theatrical experience.

Rebecca runs until Saturday. For tickets, call the box office on 0844 112121.