Stage play delivers dark romance

Actors Alana Pearce, left, and Mitch Blyde are among the cast members starring in Howick Little Theatre’s production of the play My Cousin Rachel. Photo supplied Andrew Johnson

A dramatic adaptation of British author Daphne du Maurier’s popular novel My Cousin Rachel is about to hit an east Auckland theatre’s stage.

Howick Little Theatre’s 2022 season gets under way with its production of the play based on du Maurier’s 1951 best-selling mystery romance novel of the same name and adapted for the stage by Joseph O’Connor.

It’s directed by Howick Little Theatre veteran Terry Hooper and runs from February 26 to March 19.

The play tells the story of the fictional character Rachel Sangalletti, an enigmatic countess who travels from Florence, Italy, to the Ashley Estate in the UK, the home of her recently deceased husband.

When Sangalletti arrives at the estate “her presence arouses dark suspicions and uncontrollable desires, not least in young Philip, cousin and heir to the Ashley home”, the theatre says.

“Feverish passion battles reason in this classic Gothic romance set in the wild landscape of the rock-ribbed Cornish coast.”

The theatre’s artistic advisor, Alison Mudford, says the story is set on a large Cornish estate in the UK in the 1830s.

“This adaptation toured the UK in 2019 and hasn’t been performed in New Zealand before.

“We are really excited about it and as far as I know this is only the second adaptation that’s been done.

“We read the other one as well but this one is much better.”

The story is so popular that over the years it’s been adapted multiple times for film, TV and radio.

The most recent film version starred actor Rachel Weisz as Sangalletti and was released in 2017.

  • My Cousin Rachel
    Directed by Terry Hooper
    Howick Little Theatre, 1 Sir Lloyd Drive, Pakuranga
    Season: February 26 to March 19, shows at 8pm, with 2pm matinees on February 27 and March 6.
    www.hlt.org.nz

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