Little Women, The Space Arts Centre

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by Amy Toledano

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is a book treasured by many. The story centres around family, self-discovery and growing up. Over the years there have been many different adaptations of this tale, and this latest retelling is a heart-warming modernization of a classic story.

Meg (Isabel Crowe), Jo (Amy Gough), Beth (Miranda Horn) and Amy (Stephanie Dickson) are four sisters living in Crouch End with their Ma (played by the understudy and writer of this adaptation Rachael Claye). They are, like any four young women, hopeful and looking to their futures. As we witness their lives during these formative years it is difficult not to fall in love with such wholesome, starry-eyed characters.

While this is a nice adaptation with wonderful performances from all involved -particularly the four leads – it feels the writing feels stuck between two different centuries. While the setting is clearly contemporary with references to modern day London and pop music, the rest of the show seems as if it is still stuck in the late 1800s. This is particularly noticeable through the girls’ language, their characters and interests and the way nothing they do or say represents young people growing up as a modern  working class family in North London. It makes for a few distracting moments, as it feels as if there are blank spaces where things like laptops and mobile phones should be to really move us into the present day.

However, it is a testament to the original text that the themes and characters can be and can shine through to still make for a lovely show. The chemistry between the actors is incredibly special in this piece and is one absolutely the best reasons to see it.

Little Women runs through 15 December.

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