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You are in: Northamptonshire » Going Out » Stage

Wednesday, 3rd September, 2003
Review: The Shell Seekers
Image from The Shell Seekers The Shell Seekers is 'a romantic yarn beautifully told'.

Martin Borley reviews the stage version of Rosamunde Pilcher's best-selling novel.

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FACT FILE
bullet point Rosamunde Pilcher was born in Cornwall in 1924.
bullet point Her first story was published when she was 18.
bullet point She wrote Mills & Boon romances under the name Jane Fraser.
bullet point She moved to Scotland after getting married.
bullet point The Shell Seekers was Rosamunde Pilcher's first international best-seller.
bullet point In 1998 she was Scotland's highest-earning author.
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The Shell Seekers
The Royal Theatre, Northampton
Monday 1st to Saturday 6th September, 2003
Tickets: £14 to £21
Box Office: 01604 624811
Reviewer's rating:
4-star rating

There was a distinct whiff of lavender water amongst the audience for The Shell Seekers. The stalls was a sea of grey perms. The fans of Rosamunde Pilcher (who wrote the original story) were clearly out in force.

But don't let that put you off going to see this show. It's a romantic yarn beautifully told.

Penelope (played by Stephanie Cole) is an elderly widow with a big house full of her father's paintings. The pictures are worth a fortune and Penelope's three grown-up children each have different ideas about what should happen to them. But Penelope has her own controversial plans.

Subtle

Image from The Shell Seekers.
Nancy (Veronica Roberts) lectures her husband George (Martin Wimbush)

Stephanie Cole (best known for Tenko and Waiting For God) puts in a beautifully-observed, subtle performance as the kindly matriarch. But there's superb acting from all the cast. Karen Drury (Brookside's Susannah Farnham) is Penelope's well-meaning but selfish daughter, Olivia. Veronica Roberts plays the other daughter, the stout, Tory-supporting, money-obsessed Nancy. And Ian Shaw is Penelope's son Noel, who has pound signs flashing before his eyes.

Against a backdrop of family feuding, the characters are all striving for personal happiness: a true aga saga.

And the play is full of Penelope's memories that float onto and off the stage. Simon Higlett's set is a series of framed pictures that roll into view on trolleys, like the memories that return to Penelope.

Engaging

The story has been adapted for the stage by Terence Brady and Charlotte Bingham who are best known for TV shows such as No Honestly, Pig In The Middle, Upstairs Downstairs and Forever Green.

American director David Taylor has put together a crafted and gently paced production. This is the start of a nationwide tour.

Although predictable, the story is engaging. It was an enjoyable, unchallenging, gentle evening in the theatre.

Have your say

Send us your own short review of this show. Please use the form below to send us your comments.

Michael Mesham
My first time at the theatre. Moving story, well acted. Atmospheric

nicola
i watched it at bath theatre royal and its the best play i have ever seen. the acting was excellent brillant just brillant

Richard Snelson
A skillful adaption, well-directed and cleverly-staged, a strong cast - all in all a very enjoyable experience.

Jean Corey
Funnmy to say I haven't enjoyed myself in the theatre for so long but I couldn't stop crying! Wonderful evening (and lots of laughs too!)

Matt Wilkinson
I also was at the opening - thought it was going to be too sentimental for me - and I loved it. It's funny, emotional, real and what acting! Well done all.

Jim Shaw
A very enjoyable evening out. I saw the play on Monday and they had a well-deserved standing ovation. Well done to everyone involved.



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