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Mary Postgate - One4Review

Jay Parini’s adaptation of the Rudyard Kipling story is absorbing but has an elusive quality. Perhaps this is intentional. Madeline Knight successfully conveys the complexity of the central character and her instant mood swings. She can be cool, jingoistic, warm hearted and callous. It is a play in two acts. The first act is set in 1903 when Mary was 21 years old. She is employed as the companion to the aging and cantankerous Miss Fowler (Sophie Bicknell) and governess to the her orphaned 10 year old nephew Wynn Fowler (Oliver King), a bright, wayward and confident personality. This act is laced with light drawing room wit. The second act takes place in the opening months of the First World War when Wynn has enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps. The mood becomes more somber as there is a sense that Wynn’s chances of survival are limited. Although carefully staged and directed, there is an atmospheric quality to the play which a stage version with all its constraints doesn’t quite capture. Most of the action in the second scene takes place out of doors and perhaps the medium of film would give a fuller sense of space. ***

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