Huck – New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich

There is always a danger in adapting classic novels for the stage that the audience will have such a strong vision of the novel in their mind that any stage adaptation will fail to live up to that image. When the novel has been filmed on numerous occasions the problem is compounded. It is against these problems that Shapeshifter Theatre Company launches their version of Huck – an adaptation of the Mark Twain Huckleberry Finn novels.

Despite a valiant attempt its sad to say that ultimately this production of Huck sinks midway down the Mississippi.

Central to the problem is the inability for the cast to make the characters likeable – over 2hrs 45min we just don’t care about the outcome. Some of this could be down to the length of the piece, the Mississippi may be long but at times it seems like we are set to travel the entire length.

Graeme Dalling as the title Character in particular fails to convince us to like Huck but many of the characters are little more than sketches.

Staging is fluid but the lighting fails to conjure the steamy Deep South.

This was the first night of the UK tour so some pace may improve further down the road but the show would benefit but trimming about 30mins from the show to appeal to a family audience

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