Ryan McBryde directs Nick Perry’s lively and rambunctious new play Moll Flanders loosely (in all senses) based on the novel by Daniel Defoe, in a mashup of 18th Century bawdiness and 21st Century humour.

This unfaithful adaptation features an incredibly versatile cast of actor-musicians including Eva-Jane Willis as Moll Flanders and Bill Champion as Daniel Defoe.

Moll Flanders is at Mercury Colchester 28th September – 13th October 2018.

Moll Flanders is coming to Mercury Colchester, what can you tell us about it?

The director Ryan McBryde has assembled a large multi-talented cast of actor-musicians to bring the script vividly to life with the help of Paul Herbert’s thrilling musical arrangements and Gabriella Slade’s ingenious production design.

What inspired you to write this (loose) adaptation?

The challenge for a writer adapting a classic novel is to make it different from previous adaptations and to make it feel fresh.  This adaptation takes diabolical liberties with the novel by inserting the author Daniel Defoe into the story and presenting it in a freewheeling style that fuses the early 18th century with the early 21st.

Why is Mercury Colchester the ideal home for Moll Flanders?

The playing space is generous enough to accommodate a large cast, a multi-level set and an onstage band and yet the 499 seat auditorium still manages to feel intimate.  Also, Colchester is the town Moll Flanders grew up in, and where Defoe himself had a farm.

How have the cast responded to the play so far?

I haven’t joined them in rehearsal yet but they seemed to enjoy the read through.

You write for TV and radio too, what do you enjoy about writing for the theatre?

It’s sociable.  There are rehearsals.  You get to hang out with the actors and crew and feel part of the family.  Also, you get to see and hear the audience.  That can be a gratifying or sobering experience, but it never fails to be instructive.

What would you say to anyone thinking of coming to see Moll Flanders?

It’s not your regular faithful adaptation of a classic novel.  It’s a clash of styles and it’s a full-on piece of theatre with every department firing on all pistons.  It should be a blast.

Greg is an award-winning writer with a huge passion for theatre. He has appeared on stage, as well as having directed several plays in his native Scotland. Greg is the founder and editor of Theatre Weekly

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