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Previewed 27 September 2004, Opened 13 October 2004, Closed 15 January 2005 at the Duchess Theatre in London
Emma Reeves' stage adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women in London for s limited Christmas season.
Set in New England during the 1860's, the March sisters - romantic Meg, fiery Jo, shy Beth and wilful Amy - grow up in genteel poverty against the backdrop of the American Civil War. With their father away at war, the four girls must become 'Little Women'.
The cast for Little Women includes Sarah Grochala as 'Jo', Phoebe Thomas as 'Beth', Diana Eskell as 'Amy', Sarah Edwardson 'Meg' with Paul Hampton as 'Laurie' and Lizzie Conrad as 'Marmee'. The play has been adapted for the stage by Emma Reeves from Louise May Alcott's Little Women and Good Wives, this production is directed by Andrew Loudon and is presented at the Duchess Theatre by Novel Theatre having previously been staged at the Lilian Baylis Theatre at Sadler's Wells were it has played two sell-out season..
"It takes courage to bring an adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women to the West End in the year of grace 2004. It's a work that doesn't find room for drugs, child abuse, bad language or many other leading contemporary attractions. It is damnably wholesome... It may be 'nice', but niceness alone has hardly been enough to make it a favourite. Within its limits it is also truthful, especially about the tensions of family life. It has a good deal of humour. It breathes a spirit of affection rather than rank sentimentality. These qualities are preserved in the adaptation by Emma Reeves at the Duchess Theatre. Andrew Loudon's production has charm, too. The four sisters are pretty much as I imagine them from the book, and there is sturdy support elsewhere. It's a touching, warm-hearted evening, and, if it's not too early to mention such things, it's just right for Christmas." The Sunday Telegraph
"Andrew Loudon's staging is all done in such deadly earnest, overemphatic, preachy, sentimental and oh, so dreary. The stage resembles a bare attic; scenes too tricky to stage take place behind a gauzy screen. It's certainly austere, but it is also totally lacking in atmosphere. Emma Reeves's flat adaptation is much to blame, relying far too heavily on spotlit soliloquy rather than any dramatic interaction between the characters, and on the disembodied voice of Mr March, which just about makes sense when someone is reading from one of his letters but none whatsoever when he returns from the front and comments on how much his daughters have grown... I've never been terribly fond of that flibbertigibbet Amy, and Diana Eskell tosses her ringlets and stamps her pretty foot quite effectively. Nothing, however, can overcome the complete absence here of any tension or drama. Stay at home and read the book." The Mail on Sunday
"Andrew Loudon's economical production does its best to sharpen the Victorian values inherent in the story of how the March girls 'conquer themselves' to become Little Women and, in this adaptation, Little Wives. Against the background of civil war and genteel poverty, the tomboy Jo struggles to find independence as a writer, the governess Meg becomes a mother, the flirty Amy finds true love with Jo's former beau, Laurie, and the shy Beth fades away to a deathbed scene worthy of Dickens." The Sunday Times
Little Women in London at the Duchess Theatre previewed from 27 September 2004, opened on 13 October 2004 and closed on 15 January 2005.